Today was all about readjustment. Back to work means getting back into the daily schedules, triumphs and grievances of secondary schoolers.

10 minutes in to form time (8.40am) and someone is blithely blaming everyone else for them being in trouble. 25 minutes later and Year 8 have begun with multiple excuses for not having done holiday work that they hadn’t even been set. Then it’s Year 7 and their unwinning combination of impertinence and extreme neediness. Lunch can hardly arrive soon enough. Duties and Year 9 to follow, Directed Time (Year 11 reports) and Briefing…

Despite a dropped cash register receipt roll list of stuff to do unfurling in front, though, there is no significantly negative stress about any of it. Young people just do young people stuff, and remembering that, getting organised and sitting down to all the other tasks in hand seems the only realistic way to get on. Storm Freya did all the huffing and puffing for us over night, and so this morning there was only a wind-chilled air of brisk, back to business busyness.

No triggering of anything, certainly. It’s only Monday, for one. Considering how this sort of not-really-thinking-about-it mode sits in the wider context of a not-boozing log, it’s worth reminding myself that there are many such moments in day-to-day life, even when drinking. Other matters just have to take priority.

In fact, sitting down to write about this seems a bit forced, a bit of an encumbrance. Why, it even becomes easy to see that the old drink is not such a thing after all. That all that talk of having to give it up for any extended period is unnecessary, really.

Ooh, listen to Wolfie. The silver-tongued devil. That sort of chain of thought is quite insidious.

But, recognising it for what it is – wobbly tooth tonguing, pressing on a bruise… allows for readjustment.

Silas Marner, the deceptively slight novel by George Eliot, can still pose problems for modern, young readers. If you are unfamiliar with the book, the main character is an alienated weaver-turned-miser who loses his gold but regains his soul (etc). He has two leather bags full of guineas, gold coins he likes to fondle lovingly.

Tonight I was marking some empathic work from students – mostly diary entries in character. One of them had written:

My genies. My golden shiny genies. Why did you have to leave me?

The recasting of Silas Marner as a magical realist tale woven through with 1001 Nights is a wonderful notion. It even got better:

Gem Rodney, I bet it was that man. He was always jealous of my genies. Oh, how my genies overpowered his.

…and a jinn warfare aspect would certainly enliven the novel for a contemporary teen audience.

While we’re mashing:

Just finished – in a triumphal last minute sprint – a pile of marking.

Many an undeveloped comment on how writers create clever effects with language that impact the audience and make you want to read on, but a regrettable lack of comedy howlers to share. A dull class indeed is the one that brings no entertaining inaccuracies, even.

Instead, I shall confide that in conversation once a colleague, a fellow teacher of English, twice used the non-word “irregardless”.

My brain looped the utterance as they carried on speaking, now mute under the roar of blood in my ears. They hadn’t quoted an erroneous student. They’d used it as an actual word. Twice.

Still wakes me up from time to time.

There was another terrible bit of word-maiming I heard just today, but what with the pile of marking, it’s evading me. Probably for the best.