Taking Stock - July 27, 2015

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Every so often I have grand ideas of packing up my notebook, turning in my battered laptop and swapping my trusty blue biro for a red one.

I know it’s more crowd control than Dead Poets Society but the classroom has always held a certain appeal -despite the protests of my parents (both veterans of the blackboard) that I should steer well clear.

Fortunately for them I occasionally have a break from life at Gazette Towers.

Right now I’ve turned my back on Her Majesty’s Press (but for penning these short, meandering and mostly meaningless words) and have instead been whiling away the days reading Hemingway and on a former Blackpool Corporation deckchair here on the Costa Del Thornton.

That’s the dream anyway.

The reality, with responsibility for three little people is very different.

For a start the deckchair is broken - not that there’s much time to sit in it.

At any moment I could be summoned to break up a fight, determine ownership of a toy, administer basic first aid or answer a range of questions, most of which seem to relate to the bodily functions of animals or birds. And you can guarantee that while I’m pondering the best way to explain why the car, parked under the nesting crows, needs washing again there’ll be a scream from upstairs as the twins have decided - having eaten their weight in fruit - they want to use the bathroom at the same time. And I can forget Hemingway, Conrad, Thackeray or any other little literary treats.

Once the admittedly enjoyable tale of the Snail and the Whale has been told for what feels like the millionth time and the daily battle of bedtime has been won the standard procedure is to shut my eyes for a second watching TV opening them again to find there’s a chap signing along to a Brian Cox documentary.

Then there’s the sandpit, which leaves my kitchen looking like the set of Ice Cold in Alex, the use of all furniture as a climbing frame and the constant reminders that vegetables and garnish are two different things.

Of course, I take it all in my stride because I love them.

But I can’t imagine for a second handling ten times the trouble (even if I’m constantly told my nearest and dearest are angels in the classroom).

This week children across the Fylde coast will have handed over small gifts (bottle shaped ones from mums and dads who were teachers themselves) - a token gesture to say thank you.

It’s far from enough to reward the hard work they do and will continue to do through the summer to be ready for a new term.

Teaching, I think, would be too tough for me. But for those of you who can, thank you and enjoy your summer.