High school staffrooms are generally self-sufficent places. Even in a city as small as Christchurch, it would be fair to say that there is not a lot of mixing between schools. Departments are big enough to run their own professional development and socialising with people from your own school is the norm. So I wasn’t surprised when I saw the staff list from the Girls School and I didn’t know a single person on it.
Friday was the first day of joint after-school ‘staff meetings’. Friday staff meetings usually start at 3.01pm when the bar opens but because of half days, the staff meeting was up and running at 12.31pm! By the time I arrived at 3.31pm, the meeting was in full swing. The bar staff were awaiting a delivery from the local bottle store, the bar having already been drunk dry twice. I was lucky enough to get some of the strawberry Lindauer left over from Christmas…
Because it was St Patricks Day, most people were dressed in green and the music was pure Irish. The staff band, bolstered by an enthusiastic drummer and a vocalist from the Girls’ School who could actually sing, were taking requests. Pizzas arrived, paid for by the staff of Botany Downs High School in Auckland who had dipped into their own pockets and sent a cheque.
By 6pm, the stayers had a drink in one hand and a tambourine in the other and were rocking out enthusastically to The Pogues. When a stranger leaned over the bar, he was asked convivially what he’d like. “The room actually” said the stranger. “I have a lecture starting in here in ten minutes.” We looked out of the first storey window and saw the car park filling with ten-speed riding teenager-strangers. Whoops. Must have missed that memo about staffroom-sharing with the University as well.
The bar closed abruptly, the band packed up and carried their gear downstairs and the pizza boxes were hurriedly toted to the skip. Tables wiped and chairs arranged neatly, the UC engineering students with their back packs and lecture notes began filing quietly in. And we finished the song in the car park. It was a brilliant way to start off the site-sharing year.
Then the ship struck a rock
Oh Lord! what a shock
The bulkhead was turned right over
Turned nine times around
And the poor old dog was drowned (1,2,3!)
I’m the last of The Irish Rover!