“We are amazed,” cries the beleaguered Richard II at the turn of events which is shortly to see him lose his crown and the head on which it sits.
Our astonishment is no less than his, although we teachers have suddenly gained in prestige, not been deprived of it. Were the government and the teacher’s union so recently at each other’s throats like cobra and mongoose in the timeless struggle of industrial relations? And then, O mirabile, did the union boss really kiss the premier to seal the deal?
There is something mythic, something deep-rooted in the collective psyche, being played out here. Like a rite to commemorate the immutability of spring succeeding dark winter and melancholy autumn. Or the annual drowning of the fisher king. Or the burning of the wicker man.
You seek for precedent to explain these wonders. When the news came through that we were to become (for however brief a time it takes for the other states to put in their next claim) the highest paid teachers in the land, there was a stunned silence in the common room. An unwonted hiatus swiftly succeeded by the chatter of a hundred neural calculators doing the math, as the children (ever the litmus test for cultural infiltration) have begun to say.
Older staff members, sere of skin and lined of face, had the bewildered look of elderly Inuit receiving the news of the arrival of the whales in the killing bay knowing they are beyond the hunt. And although the young whoop and holler in the way that the young do, they are yet mindful of their mates in real estate and IT making all that lovely lolly. (But are they happy? Of course they bloody are!)
In one thing we are united. Having witnessed events from afar, much like those honest and ordinary citizens of Scotland who watched the tragedy of Macbeth play itself out until the moment they are presented with the spectacle of the king’s head on a pike, we are stunned.
Did horses really eat their own and the owl prey upon the eagle? As one we cry of the coming time, “Behold where stands the usurper’s cursed head. The time is free.”