I was chatting at the shallow end this morning - we have an excellent pool in Dunoon - with the former heidie of one of the local primary schools. The sun was lighting up the green water inside and the blue water of the Clyde outside, and we agreed that it was wonderful not to be in school on such a day - for today was the first day of term here. But it struck me that I'd just spent a weekend using the skills I'd accumulated over all these years in the classroom - skills that I never thought about, but which non-teachers seem to find impressive; skills such as being able to command a room without speaking, see what is happening in one corner while apparently looking in another, engage with a roomful of people confidently.
Do we ever consider these attributes, I wonder, while we're being called to exercise them day in , day out? I don't know that I did - there was so much going on, and latterly we tended to engage in other forms of interaction with pupils and in fact might not have been up there in front as often as in the past. But I have to say that it's the old-fashioned leading from the front that is most useful in life beyond school, and as I stepped up (being a bit of a short-arse, I had to use a step) to the lectern for the first time in that conference room I felt quite a frisson of enjoyment - and of recognition. But there was another aspect to enjoy. There was no-one trying to stick a pencil into their neighbour, and no-one writing obscenities in their jotter. Everyone was looking at me with every appearance of wanting to hear what I was going to say.
And there wasn't a spit-ball in sight.