Mrs Smith and a trip to the shops.

Mrs Smith is pretty certain she isn’t an alien. From the look she has just been given by a small child who happened to spot her in the local supermarket you’d imagine she at least had two heads, not a trolley filled with a weeks worth of groceries.

Whilst her shopping list is fairly mundane and to be frank boring, Mrs Smith doesn’t usually shop so close to school. She values her privacy, she values her peace, she values her glass or several of Pinot noir and would rather no member of the school gate gossip gang spotted her in Sainsburys with 12 bottles of red and a packet of pork scratchings the weekend before half term. The news of her (supposed) drinking habits would travel round to all the parents faster than nits in Reception.  Not that Mrs Smith is averse to sharing her love of certain beverages. Indeed, judicious reference to Prosecco in the run up to Christmas often results in a very happy Mrs Smith during the holidays. Mrs Smith wonders briefly if mentioning Bombay Sapphire gin in the next lot of maths worded problems she sets for homework might have the same effect?

Since it is the holidays and Mrs Smith has no idea what day of the week it is, she is a little too relaxed. She decides that popping into the shop close to school will be fine. After all what could possibly go wrong?

Mrs Smith has a smile on her face. From all corners of the supermarket, Mrs Smith can hear parents losing it. Above the muzak, she is surrounded by whispered threats and some very clearly enunciated profanities. Having had sole responsibility for their own darling spawn for two weeks seems to have made some parents realise exactly what she has to put up with every day of the fucking week. Mrs Smith can only imagine the language when they have been at home for five weeks and  have yet to tackle school shoe shopping.

From behind a display of unicorn themed back to school lunchboxes,  Mrs Smith watches as an esteemed member of the PTA, knitter of her own yogurt and campaigner for vegan school dinner options.  She is bribing her brawling children with a large bag of Haribo Tangfastics and the promise of ham and cheese Dairlylea lunchables when they get home, if they stop being brats.

Mrs Smith smiles.

She steps out from behind the unicorns and waves a cheery greeting and declaims a clearly audible Hello towards the family, making eye contact as she does so. Mrs Smith is pretty sure she heard a muttered “shit” as she passes by. Mrs Smith ignores this. Mrs Smith thinks the campaign for dairy free dinners may just have died a death.

Mrs Smith continues on, buying all the goods one would expect from your average shopper. Teachers need loo paper, tea bags and cling film as much as the next man. They have to remember to hide the vodka under a loaf of bread but apart from that, nothing out of the ordinary.

Turning a corner Mrs Smith hears a phrase she has heard before. Mrs Smith racks her brains. Then it comes to her. It was a group of words that had drifted towards her recently whilst on playground duty. This time the person screeching “you are seriously getting on my tits” is an adult. In fact, it is the voice of a parent she had spoken to about the self same phrase only two weeks ago. Astonishingly, when questioned, this parent had no idea, no idea at all where their child had heard that phrase. This adult had suggested, quite forcefully if Mrs Smith’s memory serves her right, that Precious (never was a child better named), must have learned it from school.

Bollocks she did!

Mrs Smith knows bloody well who the originator of this phrase might be. It certainly wasn’t school. Mrs Smith pulls herself up to her full height and fixes on her “don’t bullshit me face”. The one that she usually reserves for Year 6 boys playing testicle tennis at the swimming baths. She rounds the corner. She smiles at Precious and her mum. Everyone understands the gravity of this meeting. Everyone gets the gist. No one, least of all Precious’s mum, will try to lie to Mrs Smith again.  ‘Hi,’ trills Mrs Smith lightly, ‘I thought I recognised your voice. Having a good holiday?’ Of course she isn’t, not now anyway. Precious isn’t the only one to piss off her mum this summer. Job done, muses Mrs Smith.

Mrs Smith turns on her heels and marches back to the wine, and more specifically the Pinot. Bugger the bottle she thinks, this teacher deserves a box!

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • Copyright © 2017 by Mrs Smith
    All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author
    except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

 

 

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Mrs Smith and the marking.

Mrs Smith has plans for this evening.

She would like to go out and watch a film at the cinema, she’d like to binge watch Jeremy Paxman humiliating students on University Challenge, hell she’d like to lie on the sofa doing bugger all like the rest of her family.

Mrs Smith knows how unrealistic she is wanting this. Mrs Smith is aware of how flawed, faulty, and quite frankly fucked up her hopes are.

Mrs Smith has marking to do.

Mrs Smith has piled the books on her desk. She did this at 3.30 in the vain hope that she might be able to get some marking completed before she leaves for home. Mrs Smith knows that with a whole school staff meeting, a second, smaller, unofficial, whispered staff meeting to discuss the stuff talked about in the staff meeting and a “quick chat” with the year group team, she is pissing in the wind about getting any work done at school but she is ever optimistic and lives in hope.

Mrs Smith is eternally grateful to the government, no, honestly, she is. Not for the shit storm they have created surrounding SATs marking, no, certainly not. It is for passing the law banning free plastic bags that has consequently saved her from swearing in earshot of the children so many times. She tried to prevent this, of course she did. Indeed, Mrs Smith was a fan of double bagging when it just meant using two bags to carry heavier objects home from the shops.  How many times has Mrs Smith got halfway up a set of stairs only to feel the handle of the two carrier bags decide now was the time to give up the ghost? Sending piles of books hurtling downwards followed by a volley of short, pithy Anglo-Saxon phrases not suitable for the Y4 history topic of the same name is not going to get Mrs Smith a good manners sticker from the headteacher any time soon is it.

Mrs Smith would like to stick to her aspirations and use a Waitrose bag to take her marking home. Sadly, the ones she owns are too small for quantity of books she must lug away from school every evening. Mostly Mrs Smith favours the Sainsbury’s orange elephant or the Tesco ladybirds. On days where she screwed up and got the planning spectacularly wrong thus leaving her several sets of books to mark she often goes the full blue IKEA. As Mrs Smith packs her indestructible, reusable set of bags she understands it isn’t just the books she needs to take home. Oh No. By adhering to the school marking policy completely this also means a small branch of WH Smiths must also make the journey home too.

Green pen for marking against the learning objective, purple pen to identify work that needs to be polished or improved, pink pen to underline spellings. Highlighters show the work that needs to be improved, because simply underlining it in purple means it may be ignored by the wotsit that didn’t do it properly in the first place. Of course, Mrs Smith does only need 4 highlighters and not the 8 pack but it was on offer on Amazon and she likes a bargain. Ruler to underline the date and objective for those children completely unable to remember to do this despite it being a daily fixture of school life every sodding day.  Rubber to remove any doodles from the margins or covers, not often drawn by Mrs Smith but you know, sometimes her mind wanders. Mrs Smith has two of everything, just in case. Nothing worse than being halfway through a particularly pithy appraisal of an expanded noun phrase and finding you are out of ink in your purple polishing pen.

Mrs Smith started teaching when pens were red, boards were black and a gold star could put someone into orbit for a week. Imagine that.

Mrs Smith extracts book after book from her bag.

Mrs Smith organises the books in order. Alphabetical? No, not today. Ability? No, never. She has today decided on potential for causing Mrs Smith fury as her sorting criteria. Whose work will piss Mrs Smith off the most? Who will get the Smith sarcasm today? Not that she’d actually write down her sarcastic remarks any more. After a marking symbol, three stars and a wish, a next step comment, a question to deepen understanding and a note to say if the work was independent, group work or 1 : 1 with a teacher, Mrs Smith no longer has the energy to share her wit and wisdom.

Mrs Smith knows sarcasm is not looked upon kindly by those in power, however the best insults are those your enemies need to look up, so in a way, she’s enriching her classes vocabulary by indulging herself. She spreads the theoretically irritating books throughout the marking pile, just in case.

Mrs Smith prays to the marking fairy that all will be well. It isn’t.

Mrs Smith breaks out the chocolate. Not just a small square, a huge, sanity saving block of the stuff.  She’d prefer gin or wine but Mrs Smith knows only too well how that could end. Mrs Smith shudders at the thought.

After ten minutes, Mrs Smith checks the names on the front of one of the books she has marked. As far as she can remember, and it has been a long and tiring week, Mrs Smith was asking the children to create a non-chronological report on hills and mountains in the United Kingdom as part of the geography curriculum. Pictures have been shared to inform, video clips watched to stimulate questions and knowledge organisers revisited because they are the latest bandwagon to be jumping upon. Mrs Smith learns something new every day. Mrs Smith is pleased to note that if you are taking part in the Three Peaks challenge it is important to get to each mountain “as soon as the doors open” to maximise your chances of completing the task in hand. Mrs Smith will remember this should she ever get out into the fresh air for long enough.

She is also somewhat flummoxed by Chardonnay’s reference to building houses made of sticks, straw, and bricks in order to keep out the big bad wolf. Then the penny drops. Three Peaks child, not three pigs! FFS. Mrs Smith makes a note to move her to the space right under her nose for the next lesson, if anyone asks it will be to check any misconceptions as they occur with the child. Mrs Smith suspects she will be mostly stopping Chardonnay from daydreaming.

Mrs Smith finally gets the books all marked. She has eaten the chocolate. All of it. Every piece. It has left a slightly sickly taste in her mouth.  Hmm, thinks Mrs Smith, what would clear the palate well? Gin. Yes, gin. Mrs Smith had remembered earlier that this wasn’t a good idea. Now she seems to have forgotten. This will not end well. A thick head in the morning was not in Mrs Smith’s plans.

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • Copyright © 2017 by Mrs Smith
    All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author
    except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

 

Mrs Smith and the new classroom.

Pinterest and Facebook are to blame. Mrs Smith has spent many an evening trawling her way around both, and as a result knows exactly what her classroom should look like come September. Sadly for Mrs Smith, in reality all she has are ten picture frames from Ikea, a pile of colour coded drawer labels that need laminating and some Febreze for that rug in the book corner. For Fucks Sake, so busy was she lusting after the perfect book corner that every other selfish bastard in the school got to the backing paper and borders cupboard first and now each of her boards looks like it is auditioning for the lead in Joseph and his amazing technicolour dream coat.

Mrs Smith is a fan of a good idiom. She regularly tells her class that there is more than one way to skin a cat or that she can lead a horse to water but she cannot make it drink. Mrs Smith also has to remind herself daily that you can’t polish a turd, but (and this is especially true if OFSTED or an observation is looming) you can roll it in glitter. However the idiom of the day, where her new classroom is concerned, is you can’t squeeze a quart into a pint pot.

There is much to do, and such a small amount of space in which to do it. Mrs Smith knows exactly what the non negotiables are for each and every classroom in school. She should, she has read it annually, re read it, checked it against the pile of laminated crap  recycled display material she already has and spent at least four episodes of Homes under the hammer making new landfill  images in line with the whole school focus taken from the School Improvement Plan.

Book corner? Check. In Alphabetical order within genre, giant cushions, plants, themed display and one of those fucking annoying hanging net things from IKEA that will be pulled down by a child tripping on it within the first week. Working walls? Check. Covered in backing paper, ready to accept the fresh new thoughts and ideas of the class daily in both literacy and numeracy. If they don’t come up with much at least Mrs Smith can use it to put up some of the displays that didn’t make the cut the first time round.

Given the small size of her new room, Mrs Smith is worried that once she has covered the walls in laminated displays she will have decreased the internal volume of the room quite considerably. Don’t misunderstand her, Mrs Smith is all about providing the children in her room with a rich, stimulating and exciting environment in which to learn but the buggers need to be able to concentrate on the work in hand too. Attempting to learn in a room that resembles 1960’s drug induced psychedelic experience won’t help anyone, let alone those whose attention span is shorter than Mrs Smith’s temper on a menopausal Monday morning.

Not only are walls decorated to within an inch of their lives, doors are used to enhance the learning experience. To be honest, Mrs Smith would rather they were used for their original purpose, which is to keep the children in and the Senior leadership on learning walks out.

Mrs Smith looks at the tables. More mismatched than the inhabitants of the Big Brother house. Mrs Smith has much to bear in mind as she plays furniture Tetris, moving the tables and chairs hither and thither. Management would prefer ( well actually insist, let’s not beat about the bush) children sit in mixed ability groups of four or six arranged so that they can see the board with ease. Seriously? Have they been in a classroom recently? – rhetorical question, don’t answer that. Mrs Smith might find four children in the whole class she would trust to sit together sensibly without there needing to be a reenactment of the Treaty of Versailles. Place two children opposite each other and there will be gurning, there will be whispered conversations, there will be the distinct possibility that Mrs Smith will unleash the hounds of hell in the direction of the miscreants.

Finally, with her fist raised in triumph Mrs Smith has managed it. The displays are up, the book corner is truly Pinterest worthy, lots of book jackets and a fake fire place, complete with iPad generated roaring flames. Mrs Smith has no idea either but it looked good when someone else posted it on Facebook.  Tables are adorned with maths mats, Tolsby picture frames are filled with fronted adverbials, modal verbs and suggestions for shifts in formality, the ceiling rains down ambitious vocabulary related to the Mayans.

Mrs Smith stands back and surveys all her hard work.

Oh sod it, thinks Mrs Smith, where is she going to put the fucking pens and pencils?

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • Copyright © 2017 by Mrs Smith
    All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author
    except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

 

Mrs Smith and the wet playtime.

Mrs Smith is a devotee of all and any weather presenters, she love a weather app and would create a shrine to Tomasz Schafernaker in her classroom if that didn’t cause problems with the school RE policy.

Not that Mrs Smith gets out and about much into the fresh air. Cooped up as she is, marking, planning and generally hunting high and low for glue sticks that still have their lids on. No, Mrs Smith likes to be forewarned, forearmed and filled with foreboding.  You see Mrs Smith hates the weather.  Hates it with a passion she usually reserves for the parent who books the last slot on Parent’s evening when they can clearly see that she has a fucking 40 minute window an hour earlier!

Actually, it’s not the weather itself that Mrs Smith can’t abide, it is the resultant chaos that ensues in her, and everyone else’s, classroom as a result.

Mrs Smith can see the shitty weather arriving as she looks out from her classroom window. She doesn’t make a habit of daydreaming (just in case any school leaders are reading this) but on the occasions when an answer she has been given is so wrong she has to look away rather than scream “for fucks sake child” at the top of her lungs, looking out of the window helps her to calm down.

Mrs Smith watches as the clouds scud across the sky, hoping and praying that Tomasz was wrong. He wasn’t. The clouds pile up, bringing a day of wind, rain and a class of children who will now behave like 18 year olds on the piss in Magaluf.

When a child arrives with a message, Mrs Smith knows very well that it isn’t an invitation to tea with the governing body. It’s worse than that. Two words are written on the note. Two words that will strike fear in the hearts of any teacher. Two words with the power to release the Kraken into corridors of schools across the world.

Oh shit!

Wet play.

Mrs Smith has a very short list of acceptable activities that the children may engage in during wet play. This is printed out, laminated and prominently displayed by the board. Mrs Smith take a short break for a wee and a cup of tea in the staff room. Mrs Smith is aware she is playing behaviour roulette with her class but Mrs Smith needs a wee, she needs a cup of tea.

Before she has even arrived back at her classroom door Mrs Smith knows something is up. Darren and Dean are standing in the hallway, a cut price Crabbe and Goyle, they completely balls up the one job they were given and announce to the class that Mrs Smith is back, just as she opens the classroom door. On surveying the room Mrs Smith now wishes she’d had a large gin instead of tea. She wonders too if she could get a skip lorry to help tidy up the mess.

Mrs Smith is not amused, on talking to the person on duty she is told the class had said they could do as they wish, they denied any knowledge of the class rules for playtime, they said they were sure Mrs Smith wouldn’t mind them using a whole pack of A4 paper and a glue stick each to create a replica of the Eiffel Tower for their book corner. Bollocks to that thinks Mrs Smith.

First, Mrs Smith is thoughtful, then Mrs Smith is furious and finally Mrs Smith becomes incandescent. She doesn’t go ape shit straight away. No, Mrs Smith knows the value of silence in a class full of guilty children. She knows some will shuffle uncomfortably, some will smirk, she hopes against hope however that they all maintain control of their bladders. It has happened in the past, and that would be something else to clear up in this hell hole of the classes making!

Quietly, almost inaudibly, Mrs Smith asks her class to point to where the wet play rules list is. One by one, the class points to the laminated list by the board. Mrs Smith knows that children rarely follow instructions, especially ones printed in Comic Sans and laminated to boot, but shit a brick did they need to make the class room look like this?

Now Mrs Smith goes completely ape shit! Mrs Smith questions the classes manners, she questions their knowledge of the school rules, she’d question what their parents would say but she knows some of their parents would have been first in the queue for the glue sticks and paper.

Mrs Smith directs the tidy up. Mrs Smith reminds the class that any time spent tidying WILL be taken from their lunch time. The class knows better than to complain. But then the class knew better than to trash the class at playtime they just didn’t act on it.

Mrs Smith looks out of the classroom window again, trying desperately to stop the vocabulary enhancing tirade that is itching to emerge from her mouth. Once again Mrs Smith watches as the clouds pass over. Mrs Smith is pleased as punch that the rain is slowing to a drizzle.

Lunch time will be dry. Tomasz said so. Tomasz is always right.

All the children file slowly, silently, reluctantly out into the damp, puddle dotted playground. Children loiter inside. No, Mrs Smith has no pencils that need sharpening, no you may not go and see if anyone else has any jobs that need doing. Everyone is going outside. Mrs Smith encourages the child without a coat to dodge the raindrops.

Mrs Smith  watches the sky as it changes colour. The temperature is falling.

Tomorrow, Tomasz has said it may snow.

Tomorrow, school may have to close.

Mrs Smith loves snow.

 

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • Copyright © 2017 by Mrs Smith
    All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author
    except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

 

 

Mrs Smith and the summer holidays.

 

Mrs Smith is very well aware that she is a teacher. Mrs Smith recognises the fact that that she has six weeks holiday. Mrs Smith has no intention whatsoever of apologising to every jealous shit who tells her how lucky she is to do her job and get a six-week long summer holiday.

Really, honestly, truly, they have no fucking idea!

The reality is that Mrs Smith has already spent the first week of her holiday being ill. Admittedly, the first day of illness was caused by overindulging in warm prosecco, cold pizza and one too many Jager bombs at the end of term party. Mrs Smith needs to realise she is closer to retirement than she is to being an NQT and, consequently, her liver is no longer the organ it once was.

The rest of the week will see Mrs Smith full of some virus. This lurgy was kindly bestowed upon her by a child for whom handwashing is an anathema. Mrs Smith has been valiantly fighting this off for the whole week, she spluttered her way through leavers assembly, fought for breath was she danced at the discos and self medicated with gin and tonic after the Year 6 production.

Now she is ON HOLIDAY she tries desperately to lie in past 6.15am. Mrs Smith has turned off her alarm. This works for her phone, but not for her body clock. Not that she doesn’t enjoy the chance to watch Homes under the hammer and the Animal Park summer special snuggly tucked up in her bed, but she’d rather be asleep.

The one-day Mrs Smith manages to doze on past 8am, she is woken by a parcel being delivered. Surprised and confused by this, Mrs Smith opens the package.  She discovers that whilst under the influence of the Jager Bombs she ordered 24 bargain glue sticks for 10 pounds from Amazon. She feels as if she has won the lottery!

Mrs Smith is supremely conscious of the fact that she can only take her holidays during the most expensive time of the year, to resorts that are scorching hot and filled with the little oiks she is desperate to escape from. Mrs Smith contemplated booking an adult only holiday but was terrified that it might turn out to be a swinger’s resort. Mrs Smith has no objection to open relationships but knows that as it is so close to the end of term she hasn’t got the energy to participate fully and enjoy the entertainment on offer! As it is, Mrs Smith will spend two weeks of her summer holidays reading books completely unsuitable for children on her iPad by a pool, whilst drinking cocktails on a school night. Mrs Smith will not be able to fully relax until she has swept the perimeter of the whole resort to check for children, and parents of children that she has taught. Mrs Smith is all for community cohesion and integration but has no desire for her love of a Slow comfortable screw or Sex on the beach to be shared on any parent’s Facebook page. For a short while Mrs Smith contemplated sending up a drone to keep a look out for any lurkers. Only the proximity of the airport and the distinct possibility that she could be arrested for spying stopped her from doing so. That, and the fact that she’d need a small child to operate it.

Mrs Smith is looking forward to spending her holidays doing all those things she can’t do whilst working as a teacher.  Mrs Smith will be taking more than 10 minutes to eat her lunch. She will eat it with both hands for a change as she won’t be marking, hearing children read, or answering emails from the leadership team that need immediate action.

Mrs Smith will drink as much tea and coffee as she fancies because she can take a piss whenever she wishes. Mrs Smith will not need to dress like a primary school teacher, although she will still retain the use of her “teacher stare”, just in case anyone talks too loudly, takes too long or generally gets on her tits.

Mrs Smith knows that once the first three weeks of her holiday are over the final three weeks will whizz by in a frenzy of planning, printing and panicking. Despite being on holiday Mrs Smith will go into her place of work several times. Once because her laminator chewed her display, once to make sure that the deep clean hadn’t completely rearranged her classroom (it had, of course it fucking had) and once because her husband had threatened her with divorce if she purchased any more crap from discount shops or Swedish furniture stores and brought it into their house.  Mrs Smith, therefore, will have to make several trips to drop off the boxes of highlighters, post it notes, glue sticks, picture frames and cushions in whimsical shapes before he notices. If only Poundland sold the sticks for glue guns ….

Mrs Smith has been counting down the days to this holiday since the beginning of September last year. Mrs Smith wishes she had a pound or even a penny for every pain in the arse who told her how lucky she was. Mrs Smith would be rich enough to stop teaching and start living!

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • Copyright © 2017 by Mrs Smith
    All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author
    except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

Mrs Smith and the school trip.

Mrs Smith has a nagging suspicion she has forgotten something vital as she prepares for the school trip. Boxes have been ticked, risk assessments completed and parents subjected emotional blackmail and threats of cancellation if the trip isn’t paid for via the school’s online payment system.

Mrs Smith longs to return to the days when a school trip meant going on a coach to a museum for a day out of class.

Now the same coach, to the same museum, to see the same stuffed animals and pickled body parts floating in jars are part of a WOW event, a 4G topic starter or an educationally immersive experience. There are some days when Mrs Smith longs for the chance to treat her class to a bit of fun, frivolity and fuck all else!

There was a time when every coach came with a chain smoking driver, a wheel at each corner and no need to give every child a seat. Not now, the double decked, air conditioned, luxury conveyance silently drawing up outside the school gates also comes with a driver who has undertaken UN approved advanced defensive driver training – just in case. Safety of the children is paramount. Mrs Smith scoffs at this, anyone who tries to hijack a coach full of 11-year olds who have eaten their stash of illicit sweets within 10 minutes of departure from school and washed it down with a contraband bottle of pop, gets all they deserve.

Still, Mrs Smith has a sense of impending doom, something has been forgotten.

With all the skill of Simon Cowell constructing a boy band, Mrs Smith sets about organising ‘the groups’. Mrs Smith knows there will be repercussions, someone will want to swap groups, someone will say they would rather be with their friend, someone will pull a face as the lists are read out. However, she also knows that if you volunteer to take a group on a school trip you get what you are given.

Mrs Smith lines her class up at the classroom door. For the first time, but certainly not the last, Mrs Smith counts to 30. Mrs Smith glances along the line. Sizing up the possibilities of insurrection, Mrs Smith strikes swiftly. Moving quietly, she breaks up cliques, reorganises groups and generally rains on parades. The feeling in the room sours. Mrs Smith knows she has succeeded. Doubt still fogs Mrs Smith’s mind. What is it that has been forgotten?

Carrying more than Tensing when he and Hillary took on the summit of Everest, and that is just the First aid kit, Mrs Smith heads towards the coach. Long gone are the days when a bucket, a newspaper and a wet flannel in a plastic bag was sufficient. Mrs Smith now needs a small branch of Boots before she can set off down the road. Checking for inhalers and epipens, she is door stepped by the mother of the most obnoxious child in the class. Mrs Smith turns her charm on full beam. Yes, she will take care of Tiberius, no, she won’t let him out of her sight, yes, she will make sure that he eats his home-made hummus and crudités and yes she will remind him to check that any treat he buys is at the very least vegetarian, organic and preferably Fairtrade. Closing the door with a little more force than is necessary, she boards the coach.

Once again Mrs Smith counts to 30. Still the worry remains. Something has been forgotten. Mrs Smith can feel it in her waters.

Finding a seat in the middle of the coach Mrs Smith immediately spoils the fun of at least half the class. Mrs Smith, 1, singers of rude ditties, 0.

Mrs Smith notices a movement, she turns and her heart sinks. Making her way down the coach to the empty seat next to Mrs Smith is the Mother who always comes on trips. Always available, always there, always eavesdropping on conversations, ready to relay them to her coven Whatsapp group. Mrs Smith is vigilant, Mrs Smith is wise, Mrs Smith is tempted to feed her false information just to see how far it travels!

Mrs Smith makes her excuses and once again counts to 30. With a nod to the coach driver, the journey begins. Mrs Smith returns to her seat and then she remembers.

Shit.

Shit!

SHIT!!!!!!

The nagging doubt. The panic. The sense of impending doom. All called for and all justified.

Mrs Smith has suddenly remembered that she has no wine in the fridge at home. After a day out on a school trip that should always be the first thing organised. Mrs Smith puts her head in her hands, today will be a long day, and it just got longer.

 

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • Copyright © 2017 by Mrs Smith
    All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author
    except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

Mrs Smith and the assembly.

Today is Mrs Smith’s turns to take assembly. Mrs Smith quite likes leading the assembly, not that you’d know that from the stern look on her face, pursed lips and arms folded across her chest.

 

Mrs Smith is on high alert.

 

Mrs Smith watches as the children file into assembly. She is always surprised that a collective act of worship and reflection so often follows an episode of adults raising their voices demanding peace, quiet and tranquillity.

 

Mrs Smith scans the serried ranks of ne’er do wells for pockets of insurrection. Her well trained eye spots possible areas where trouble could break out. Simply by pointing her finger and waving a child to the end of the line she puts a stop to everyone’s fun. Mrs Smith is always amused by the look of innocence on the face of someone who two seconds previously had been ramming a pair of non-regulation school shoes up the arse of the person in front.

 

Out of the corner of her eye Mrs Smith can see Wayne poke Duane. Duane doesn’t react, possibly because he hasn’t yet realised he has actually been poked.

Wayne pokes Duane again.

 

Secretly Mrs Smith wishes Duane would turn around and hit Wayne.

Hard.

He doesn’t.

 

Instead Duane turns to Wayne and slowly, and very deliberately clearly mouths “Fuck off”

Mrs Smith notices this.

Mrs Smith uses her professional judgement and ignores it.

 

After all, the hall is finally silent and the whole school is listening to a calming track from the Enya album that Mrs Smith hastily downloaded this morning from iTunes. Mrs Smith is praying that the computer prefects don’t scroll through her playlists. Some of them don’t have very child friendly titles.

 

Duane and Wayne are now ignoring each other. Thank goodness for that. Mrs Smith really doesn’t think it would be very sensible to go batshit crazy at the two of them during an assembly examining Peace and Tolerance.

 

Having spent 15 minutes trying to bring some enlightenment to the God forsaken bunch in front of her, she then asks the assembled throng to bow their heads and reflect.

Mrs Smith has a very good idea what someone in the room will be planning during the silence.

 

Mrs Smith is vigilant.

She is on her guard.

She is a coiled spring.

She is ready.

 

Mrs Smith makes the NQT error of being distracted by the thought of Eminem rather than Enya pouring out of the speakers at the end of assembly. Mrs Smith tiptoes towards the computer, determined to prevent disaster.

 

In the silence, an opportunistic farter lets go a blast that ripples across the polished hall floor faster than jet down a runway. No one laughs. Everyone sits open mouthed.

 

Mrs Smith ponders if this could count towards awe and wonder for today?

 

Mrs Smith dreads the end of an assembly. It begins well but then chaos descends as the classes try to leave the hall. It often reminds her of the scrum around the reduced food aisle in Tesco – not that she shops there. She’s just heard about it.

 

The sounds of relaxing music fills the air. Mrs Smith breathes a sigh of relief. She hopes above hope that this will encourage good behaviour on the way out of the hall.

 

Mrs Smith realises she is pissing in the wind.

 

Once more Mrs Smith notices Wayne poke Duane. This time Duane realises the first time. He responds with a much louder FUCK OFF and a very hard punch. The hall is silenced far more effectively by this than by any number of tracks from Orinoco Flow.

 

Mrs Smith thank God for the assembly. It has given her a cast iron reason to exclude Duane and Wayne for the next 48 hours.

 

Mrs Smith thinks that was a very successful end to her Peace and Tolerance assembly indeed.

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • Copyright © 2017 by Mrs Smith
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    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author
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