We've taken, some of us from HT, to meeting in a pub for lunch on Tuesdays. If you've ever been to Holy Trinity Church, you'll know it's a bit out of the way: atmospheric, special, but not exactly in the throbbing heart of Dunoon. So we've decided to meet in this very central hostelry and indulge in Big Talk (as opposed to small talk).
Yesterday nine of us were talking about the things we don't say - the things we hold back for whatever reason. And it emerged that I don't hold back much. I'd already arrived at this as a conclusion, and found that more than one person thought so too. But of course, a discussion like this leaves you thinking about it afterwards, and I was thinking about ... well, me, actually.
Of course teachers hold things back all the time. In all my years in the classroom I managed to suppress the oaths that would drift temptingly to the surface and the anecdotes that though wonderfully illustrative Really Would Not Do. But in another sense a school is a totally liberating place, as I was reminded by visiting my former colleagues just before I went to the pub. There are few topics that won't have an airing in a staffroom, and the banter is rich in many ways. Maybe that has a lasting influence on one's post-work life.
But on the other hand, who actually knows what's going on in anyone's mind? Someone who appears completely free in their discourse may in fact be suppressing all sorts of comments - because they might shock, because to say them might be hurtful or make someone else's life harder. And someone else who seems to be incredibly anally retentive might come out with the apparently naïve comment which can be utterly irritating in its lack of sensitivity.
So? I guess the outcome of all that was that some of our group voiced opinions which they had hitherto suppressed, and we all perhaps felt we knew each other that little bit better. But none of us, I suspect, is without that secret reservoir of unspoken comment. Not even a blogger.