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“This is Darryl, he’s in IT.”
“Hi, Darryl. Nice to meet you.”
“This is Betty. She works in the library.”
“Hi Betty. Nice to meet you.”
“That kid over there was the one I was telling you about – the one who started a fire in the Year 8 locker bay last year. Keep an eye on him if you have him in a class.”
Being the new teacher at school means constantly being introduced to people and then promptly forgetting their name and the position they hold. It also means being rather attached to the screen shot of the school map that you took to make it look less obvious that you had no idea where you were going.
Instead, you look like someone who is desperately trying to appear as though you have real friends in the outside world as you bustle between classes, occasionally bumping into a slow-moving student.
“Oi, watch it you stupid … sorry, Miss. I thought it was another kid.”
My new office has certain rituals and routines that have now become second nature; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there is a coffee van that visits the school and parks in the staff carpark.
There is a roster next to the sink so that you know when you are responsible for the purchase of everyone’s beverage of choice. Because I’m new, I have also been given a copy of everyone’s coffee order so that I don’t mess it up.
This is great, as I feel like I am constantly returning from class to a free coffee on my desk. With 12 people in the office, you only have to buy the group coffee once a month. Hopefully this won’t coincide with a “I made poor choices with my pay this fortnight” event.
On Tuesdays, I go to the local shops in my free period with Brian, Deb and Lou and we have a sit-down, away-from-school coffee. These informal meetings are the best time to find out all of the exciting gossip of the school and the scandals that have occurred prior to my arrival.
Thursday is my hectic teaching day, so it’s a case of pushing through with the pod coffee in our office that we take turns to pick up at ALDI. There’s a great sense of relief that my daily caffeine requirements have been so well accommodated.
My classes have been pretty good so far – no one has really rocked the boat too much. I did have a knock on the door during my Year 8 English class last week and opened it to see the kid I’d been warned about (locker arsonist) standing with a nervous duty student.
“Jai’s been removed from PE for failing to follow Mr Cookson’s instructions. He said to bring him here.”
“But, you’re new, so maybe I should take him somewhere else.
“Just ‘cos she’s new doesn’t mean she’s a moron.” And with that, Jai pushed past and sat at a desk … and I felt truly accepted.
— Christina Adams is a member of the Australian Education Union (Victoria) and a stand-up comedian
- Professional Learning