It is the time of year when a teacher is required to justify his approach to the craft in the form of the mid-year review. Department heads ensconce themselves in faculty offices and one by one, like naughty students, each of us is called in.


The feeling of being summoned by the sergeant major is reinforced by the parade ground bark of Delia Le Clezio who, in a school where nicknames are bestowed by a self-appointed committee of sports teachers (like they have anything better to do), is inevitably known as The Lezzy. The Lezzy is head of our department and also its arse as the sardonic on staff point out. What look like saddlebags are packed into the leggings which The Lezzy favours. Walking down the corridor in her wake can be a disconcerting experience.

But these are thoughts you banish from your head as you present yourself for inspection.

“Hmm, yes. Ha-huh. Ah, I see,” the head chews over the raw data in the form of semester grades and student surveys. These last are the opportunity for students to exact anonymous revenge for slights both real and imagined.

“I am assuming simulated human sacrifice is not part of your study of the Aztecs? No, didn’t think so.”

Looking across the desk you think you recognise the sinister scrawl of the kid who declared that the Iron Maiden was “really cool”.

The Lezzy now launches into a discussion of indicators and core objectives. You nod knowingly. She searches your face for irony, a moment for which you have prepared yourself like a spy going under deep cover. Your nerve holds but then you almost blow it by throwing in the word pedagogy. It’s a near thing.

“Well, all things appear to be ship-shape,” The Lezzy declares.

Then at the very moment The Lezzy indicates that the ordeal is at an end and the body is flooding with endorphins, she says, “There is one other thing.”

“There is?”

“You’ve done rather well.”

“I have?”

The Lezzy, though, is not about to indulge you.


Read the full Lowbottom High diaries here .