With schools around the People’s Republic back in full swing we look at some of the ‘positions’ up for grabs inside Leeside’s classrooms…
This might have seemed like a good idea in September but within a few weeks you’ll be regretting this one – possibly for the rest of your life. Scoring highly in tests and exams is one thing, at least that’s a talent that will come to be respected by your peers but it’s the tell-tale tackler and ‘squeeler’ label that will follow you to the grave. Or at least as far as the confirmation in sixth class.
Making funny noises or lobbing paper aeroplanes and rubbers at the teacher are high risk activities but with juicy bounties: if you pull it off and don’t get caught you’re status as a messer/funnyman among the class grows very quickly – earning you masses of respect from your fellow smallies.
|Teacher's Pet aka The Class Langer|
Teachers may gamble on somebody breaking their silence however when an afternoon of hurling gets replaced with ‘lámha trasna, méar suas’ – in other words starring at the walls for an hour instead of pucking a ball around in the sunshine.
“If somebody tells me who threw the paper at me, we can all go outside hurling but until then you can all sit here and do nothing”.
Like a detective she will use the power of boredom hoping somebody will crack. It’s torture for some but the risk of being labelled a sneaky squeeler for the rest of your life keeps most mouths shut. Then, to everyone’s dismay, a hand at the front of class goes up.
“Miss it was Finty O’Sullivan who did threw the plane at’cha like, I sawed when he done it”
He might get to play hurling on his own this afternoon but when he gets the cold shoulder at his own child’s confirmation in thirty years time or gets spit in his pint anytime he ducks out of the pub for a fag he’ll rue every syllable his seven year old voice uttered that day.
Getting the seat nearest to the classroom door is the berries. When your teacher is sick, hungover or on one of those public-sector “in-but-out” virtual days off he will ask you to open the door when there’s a knock. He’ll also ask you to run errands because by being right by the door you’re the least likely to trip over a line of sacks and sue the school on your way out.
|Soggy copybooks: Amanda knocked over her milk again|
Being sent to find the caretaker to ask him for a mop and bucket is almost like getting a half day with some quality dossing that could enable you to miss most of the Irish spelling test. Wandering the corridors with your legitimate get-out-of-jail card is like a prisoner on day release – if any adult with authority quizzes you, all you have to do is to state your task like it’s a secret password:
“Well actually SIR, Mr. McCarthy sent me to find a mop and bucket from Chops Murphy because Manky Amanda spilt all her milk on the floor and it’s all over her copies and Declan O’Mahony’s new shoes as well…”.
If your interrogator requires further information you can smugly let them know that they can forward all enquiries to Mr. McCarthy or go to see Amanda’s manky pool of milk and soggy copybooks for themselves. Meanwhile you can tactically avoid Chops the Caretaker for as long as possible (you’ll hear his bunch of keys a mile away) to soak up more Irish spelling questions - pretending you were looking for him all the time.
Sergeant Nature Table
While the risk of being labelled ‘Teacher’s Pet’ is high being awarded charge of the class nature table is worth it – ‘Sergeant Major’ being the equivalent rank in the Irish Army this position allows you to shout at anyone else who dares to touch a pine cone, ‘helicopter’ or chessie - possibly even issuing extra homework as punishment for their indiscretion.
|The Nature Table: look but don't touch bobbila|
This is also a daycint opportunity to sneak slugs, worms and beetles into class so you can scare the living daylights out of the wan sitting next to you when they open their lunchbox to find the eight legged extras from Nightmare on Elm Street instead of a tasty white sandwich and a clean ripe apple. If teacher says anything you can claim ignorance and blame the bit of hedging you brought in this morning.
“The wourums musta ate her sandwich miss!”
If you’re in charge of the nature table blaming you for bringing manky insects into class is like accusing the caretaker of breaking into the school’s store room – the nature table is your office and wourums are your tools. I dunn natin’ your honour!
The Fella Who Sits Next to the Smelly Fella
All summer the main worry has been who will be put sitting next to the fella who smells. He came from another school, doesn’t say much, never shares his crisps at lunch and says he hates playing sport.
|You farted didn't you?|
That’s strange because the horrific pong of sweat from him seems to indicate that he does nothing but exercise. Either that or he has been cultivating an allotment for stinking mushrooms under his arm pits for a few months.
Later in life you can feel sorry for him and his allergy to water but when you’re a smallie with a full set of hyper-sensitive nostril hairs and an unrestrained set of facial expressions to go with it the last thing you need is the bleeding heart brigade because the stench from The Smelly Fella makes your life hell. Telling your teacher you need to sit closer to the board is the best way of getting a one way ticket north.