Like Oberon, we are sometimes invisible.

“I’m really gutted, yeah? Like this is 100% the way I feel.”

It was a stint of yard duty and the words were overheard as one student looked into the doe eyes of another. This is the season, after all, when young love blooms and withers in a day; hearts broken between recess and the final bell. When love is inexpressible, a shared earplug of an iPod does yeoman service. 100% of the way they feel. And since it is assumed that the language of love is a foreign tongue to anyone over twenty-five, it doesn’t matter to the schoolyard Romeos and Juliets that a teacher is hovering in the near vicinity.

If the kids only knew the kinds of liaisons dangereuses taking place under their very noses. It’s not love, though, that sets the pulse a-racing among the staff but the prospect of next year’s teaching allotment. Is it credible that a chalkie would get a hard-on for Year 12 Philosophy? You better believe it, baby. And so it is routine to find staff members in a metaphorical clinch when surprised in dark corners of the campus.

“Er, hello Trev.”

It is not their dress they quickly adjust but their faces. In plotting for advantage, it is vitally important that you not be seen to be doing so. The urgent conferences will focus on two things: the form of their rivals and the league table of the year levels. In the first it is imperative that you steal a march on the enemy. It is not uncommon, then, to see a staff member approach the Principal’s office with a view to professional arse-licking (and, by the by, pouring vitriol about rivals into the head’s ear), only to see the door close on the back of the said rival who has got there first.

In these fraught days, you enter Downtown Calcutta (the place of easement) and hear the sound of wailing and the gnashing of teeth which has nothing to do with last night’s vindaloo. With regard to the school’s worst forms, teachers have been known to contemplate desperate measures at the prospect of taking on 9E, or it could be 10F. At such moments of crisis, the copy room guillotine is quietly hidden away and a discreet eye kept on the desolate.

Who are really gutted, yeah? At such times, how we devoutly wish we could be truly invisible. It is 100% the way we feel.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW