I taught them to cook vidya4 - Flipbook - Page 38
And they bow down to the Chief Name Collector in awe and
The first and most highly prized secret is finding out about the
teacher’s private life. Married teachers can be boring with their
husbands, wives and children. Well, boring until they start an
affair with someone in the staffroom. There are some teachers, at
the top of the school hierarchy, whose first names I never know
like the head, deputy head and my discipline saviour, Mr Lewes.
When new teachers arrive in school, the gossip scavengers are
out in force. Male teachers are just called Mr and don’t attract as
much interest as the women, who are addressed as Miss if they
are single, so it’s Miss Hyde for me and they’re after my first
name and secrets on my private life.
‘Have you got a boyfriend, Miss? What’s his name? Where do
you live? Where does he live? Will we meet him if he comes to
collect you from school? Are you getting married?’
If you tell them ‘No’ and ‘None of your business’, then they
‘Why not, Miss? You’re not that old.’
It is comforting that at twenty three they think I still stand
a chance of married life. Like the grubbiest of reporters from the
News of the World, they are constantly on my case, checking for
updates. I privately hope that with Cynthia’s help, I’ll have more
of a social life and give these gossip mongers some fuel.
Back in the cookery room, the class is packing away their rock
cakes, ready for home time.
‘Would you like a cup of tea, Cynthia?’
‘I can see you are busy, Jenny. Let me make us one.’
Incredible. Amazing. Kindness, support and a cuppa are
coming. My simple prayers have been answered. The first term
in this new school has been difficult. Firstly I have to make sure
that I’m teaching them interesting, relevant, up to date stuff
on food and nutrition to get them through the EXAMS. Next