Fear and loathing in the staffroom

March 10, 2006

Time to introduce you to another of my annoying work colleagues, The Old Duffer. 

He means well, most of the time, but he just can’t get over the fact that there are competent and intelligent women in the world, who are under 40 and don’t find him attractive.  Actually I’ve yet to meet a single woman (or man for that matter) who does find him attractive, but I guess there may be others who are prepared to simper at appropriate moments, whilst I most decidedly am not.

The Old Duffer is always correct.  He is never wrong.  I repeat, HE IS NEVER WRONG.  In his own head anyway.

In the real world he is often wrong, he makes mistakes, just like anyone else.  But, unlike most other people, he thinks he is to teaching what the Pope is to religion – infallible and in possession of a direct line to God on all matters, from the best way to deal with that difficult parent, to the school policy on internet use, to the National Party’s views on zoning.

We had a huge scrap the other day about one of the curriculum documents.  Luckily there were only a few other people in the staff room, and to be honest I didn’t want to push it because I didn’t want to embarass him.  It’s pretty clear to me that he’s just serving his time now, until he hits retirement at 65 (mercifully only about a year away now).  The poor Old Duffer can’t let go of his forty-odd years in the classroom, which is understandable, and sometimes I feel sorry for him. 

Other times I don’t.  Those would be the times when he leaps straight up on to the moral high ground without merit, often unflatteringly exposing his arse in the process.  He gets this tone in his voice that drives me mad.  It’s his way of saying, without actually using these words “I know more than you, how could I possibly not know more than you – you’re just a girl compared to me.”  In this, he so often reminds me of my father, even though Dad has never been a teacher.

The contempt The Old Duffer treats me with undermines my best efforts to be nice, and to view him as an old man who feels unsafe and uncomfortable in a world that has changed so much in the last forty years.  Instead I start to imbue him with spite and malice he probably doesn’t truly possess. 

His inability to deal with the world as it is, rather than as it was, and his denial that there is anything about education that he doesn’t know, really reflect his insecurity.   I need to remind myself of that, to avoid bringing along my dear friends Ms Sarcasm and Miss Harsh Tone whenever I deal with him.

I just find his rejection of me so frustrating, because it seems to be solely based on my lack of a Y chromosome and my age.  But ultimately I guess The Old Duffer fears me for those exact reasons.  Just as well I’m white or he really wouldn’t be able to deal with me at all!



One Response to “Fear and loathing in the staffroom”

  1. […] Ms Snake is another one of my annoying workmates, along with The Old Duffer and The Dumper. Ms Snake and I used to get on very well, although I knew we weren’t really friends in the conventional sense. […]

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