The Curse of the Quick Word.


Part of the stress of working in schools is the short amount of time people have for adult to adult interactions. Staff become institutionalised, the bell controls the bladder, brings on a thirst for coffee, a need to let off steam with colleagues, tell off a child, commiserate, or congratulate. It is a time for a joke, last minute photocopying, putting up a notice, sending emails, catching up on marking…

having a fag…

running over to the next classroom, collecting cover, doing a playground duty or having a meeting.

All in ten minutes! Or a bit longer if at lunch, or after school, but don’t forget ‘extra curricular/co-curricular’ activities and clubs…

The worst thing that can happen in your precious busy (sorry that should read ‘free’) time is when a member of senior management catches you with the dreaded words “Can I have a quick word?” ‘Curses’ the teacher thinks, I have a hundred and one different things to do and now this! And woe betide you if you say no, as this is never really an option.

On one occasion the deputy head caught up with me in the corridor and asked to have a quick word. He proceeded to rush down the corridor, with me chasing, spilling coffee as we marched, instead of going to his office he went into the staff ‘Gents’ toilet, and beckoned me in. I followed, somewhat reluctantly. Once inside he proceeded to go into a cubicle, thankfully he didn’t drag me into this inner sanctum, he shut the door and proceeded to rustle about with his clothing; he sat down with a sigh and then began to talk about whatever so-called urgent matter that was occupying his mind. That I have forgotten about what he was saying might be because of the noises that accompanied our ‘discussion’.  Strain and fart with increasing urgency followed by splash and plop and sigh and the odour… Oh God, the odour… then after much rustling of paper and clothing he departed the cubicle without apology and left me there as he went about his, er, business. I was flabbergasted.

I suppose it was good to have a senior manager who gave a shit…

But nothing, I repeat nothing, should warrant such a meeting.

If senior managers believe there is not enough time to meet with staff then perhaps they need to free up more time. And coffee and biscuits or fruit might show you care, you see, a meeting when eating is far more  preferable to one when defecating.

3 thoughts on “The Curse of the Quick Word.

  1. Unreal.
    I once worked for a head who said, ‘walk with me’…….I did. He said nothing as we paced the corridors to his office at which point he smiled and said bye bye. Quite confusing though infinitely preferable to your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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