Regular readers of this blog will know that I rarely write about work.
This is for a number of reasons, not least of which is that this blog is very much my escape from the daily grind so to dwell on the quotidian minutiae of my profession would seem to be in direct contradiction of that sentiment.
Also it might be a tad unprofessional, given that much of my job entails working with some fairly dysfunctional young people. It’s not that that doesn’t generate some amusing tales, quite the contrary, but to share those tales outside of the confidences of a few, well-chosen, colleagues might not be a brilliant long-term strategy for career enhancement.
Obviously I fully intend to give up my day job as soon my talents as a writer, comedian and all round entertainer are recognised by the popular media, but as yet such acknowledgment has yet to present itself in the form of a jaw-dropping book deal worth an obscene amount of money, or the chance to write, direct and indeed star in my own artistically-credible-yet-accessible-to-the masses sit-com.
This could be down to a lack of effort on my part to make such dreams a reality.
Or it could be a lack of talent.
It’s probably both.
So for now I’m reliant on my day job to pay the bills.
And those bills do keep on coming.
But I’m not here looking for pity.
I actually like my job for the most part.
In fact since I was able to move out of the classroom and into my current role, I’ve enjoyed working in education more than ever. Lots of my colleagues now regard me with envy. The teacher who no longer teaches.
How does one achieve this noble art of teaching without teaching? Is it like Bruce Lee’s famous art of ‘fighting without fighting’?
Well no it’s nothing like that. But ‘Enter the Dragon’ is a brilliant film that should be referenced whenever the opportunity arises.
I am what is commonly referred to as a ‘SENCO’ or ‘Special Educational Needs Coordinator’.
Every state school in England has to have a SENCO by law. I’m not sure what the situation is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland but I imagine similar roles exist.
In some schools the SENCO does still have to teach, but my school is quite a big school so the belief is that I have enough to do without a teaching commitment. That belief is well-founded. I do have enough to do.
I won’t dwell on that here though because I didn’t really intend for this post to be a description of my job. Interesting though it is to carry out on a daily basis, stellar blog content it isn’t.
The reason I’m even mentioning my job at all today is that I have a day off. In fact I have the whole week off.
One of the perks of working in education is that you get a lot of holidays. The downside is not being able to take those holidays when you want to, but the sheer number of days off does make up for that.
And this week is half-term.
So I should be at home watching Star Wars.
Instead though, I’m actually in work as I write this.
And I’m likely to be in work for the rest of this week.
I don’t have to be here, I am here out of choice. But it’s the kind of choice that I’ve made knowing that the consequences of not coming in might ultimately end up being quite bad for me in the long-term.
One aspect of my job, you see, is paperwork. It is, in many ways, the most important part of my job. I do lots of other things too though. And most of those other things can only be done during the school day, so they sort of take precedence. Because I can, in theory, do the paperwork any time.
Except that what happens with paperwork is that, if I don’t do it straight away, it starts to pile up.
And when it starts to pile up my desk gets quite messy.
And I’m not really a fan of a messy desk.
So for the last few months whenever the paperwork has piled up a little too high, I’ve removed it from my desk and put it into a bag. It’s one of those generic ‘bags for life’ that you can get in most supermarkets.
My intentions were innocent. I put the paperwork into the bag so that I could take it home and work on it there. The bag regularly made it as far as the boot of my car. It rarely made it out of the car once I got home though.
So I’ve been ferrying my paperwork back and forth from school in a kind of bizarre charade. More and more paperwork has gone into the bag over time.
Very little has come out.
In recent weeks I began to realise that some of that paperwork has been in the bag for months.
That cannot be a good thing.
I have started calling it the Bag of Shame.
It’s taken on a rather menacing air. It is the ‘Joker’ to my ‘Batman’, the ‘Skeletor’ to my ‘He-Man’ or the ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ to my ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ (because he is his own worst enemy is he not?).
And so I’ve take the brave, almost heroic decision, to give up some of my holiday in order to thwart the Bag of Shame once and for all.
Songs will be sung of this legendary battle. Peter Jackson has already expressed interest in the movie rights (although for some reason he wants to make it into a trilogy of three hour films, when in all probability a single, shorter film would be more than sufficient for telling the story).
Anyway, that’s why I’m in work this week.
To catch up with paperwork.
And I’ve made a brilliant start by wasting the first two hours writing this blog post.
Which probably explains more about how the bag of shame came into existence than anything else I’ve written today.