I’m teaching again. I hesitate to use the word “teaching” though, because I know lots of teachers, and respect them enormously. If they heard me tell anybody I was a teacher, they would probably descend on me like a bag of spanners, and pull my fingernails out one by one, while asking me how many times I had to shut an unruly student down, or how many times I had to send anybody outside, or at what time in the evening I finished marking books from yesterday.
So no. I guess I’m not teaching after all. More standing in front of a room full of strangers, pretending to know some things. It doesn’t sound quite as good, does it. Of course I can’t tell you what I was “knowing some things about”, or the place I was doing it. That would be unprofessional. Let’s just say I’m in Leeds, in the North of England.
After a particularly rubbish hotel breakfast this morning, I set out on foot to cover the half-hour walk through the city streets to my destination. It took longer than I expected, because I kept encountering things I wanted to take photos of, which may or may not have included a number of bronze sculptures of women that looked uncannily like somebody I know. Given that the statues were half-naked, this would probably cause all manner of rumours to start – but I mean the face. Honest. The face! No, really. Ah damn. You’re too busy laughing now anyway.
The first day of any meeting with people you don’t know is always a bit odd. Everybody is busy being the best version of themselves, but as the day goes on you slowly drop your guard. Everybody relaxes. And my stress levels decrease. A few minutes after 9 o’clock this morning I stood in front of my new accomplices, and began:
“There’s something you need to know before we start – I’m not a teacher.”