'Good morning, Miss. Happy Guardian Angels!! Can we get you breakfast?' I was taken aback. I had wandered grumpily into the staff room at 7am, following too few hours sleep, clutching a report to be delivered to the OFSTED Inspectors tout de suite. But, here in the hallowed staff room, were two smiling sixth formers, with their hair in bunches, wearing angel wings, offering to fix me breakfast. The tables were laden with danish pastries, variety cereal boxes, juices and fresh coffee.
So began Guardian Angels 2011.
The usual staff briefing was punctuated with laughs and joyful anticipation. I knew, since the Section 5 OFSTED team do not observe the teaching of Religious Education, they were likely to use the morning's Tutorial to observe the RE teaching staff. I was right. There was an inspector outside my door as I arrived to greet my form. To my delight, 7B responded to my 'Good Morning Year 7' with a gleeful, 'Good Morning, Miss. Happy Guardian Angels!' Nothing, not even a rather dour note taker would dampen their mood. We began with a prayer - it was the creed of 7B, created just last week when we re-enacted the Council of Nicea. My form had taken great care to try and express 7 things that they all, each and everyone, would agree that they believed. Then, I got on to the arrangements for this special day, and finally began the Tutorial lesson. Thirty five minutes flew by, and the most stressful part of the day was over.
After normal lessons 1 and 2, I was sent out to duty. Whilst I was out there, a group of sixth formers came to find me. They gave me some cake, a special silver pen with 'Guardian Angels' written on it, and a card to explain that as a teacher, I was called to be a physical embodiment of their Guardian Angels everyday (guiding them on the right path and showing them how to find their moral strength), and thanking me for doing so. Having only been in the school 4 weeks, I felt quite undeserving of such gifts, but traditions are traditions! :-) Today was the day Year 13 were going to be Guardian Angels to the rest of the school community. They were taking over. They tied my hair in bunches and put flowers in it.
The bell went. It was time for me to get changed into my netball kit. The sixth form girls would play the female staff, whilst the sixth form boys challenged male teachers to a football game. The rest of the school (wearing angel wings) and the OFSTED team looked on. They were tight matches. I may have been accused of playing Rugby, not Netball. Over four games, the female staff won on goals, 5 - 4. The male staff fought a tough match, but the final result was Sixth Form 3, Staff 2.
After all that hard work, the school had worked up an appetite, and once again, Year 13 were on hand with a feast. Everything you could imagine was served up in the staffroom, and breaking one of the long standing rules of education, OFSTED came and joined the party.
After lunch the staff were quarantined to the staff room, whilst Year 13 gathered the rest of the school in the hall. We were then invited down, as honoured guests, to watch them perform a play. The plot was a traditional 'Who Dunnit?'. Staff were being kidnapped, and the Head Teacher and two Deputies were traveling from department to department to find the guilty party. The music teacher was accused of the crime: 'How else do you get them to choir?', but proven innocent. Care and attention was paid to every member of staff, ensuring that they all felt duly critiqued! I haven't laughed so hard in years. In the end, we found out, it was those staff who had retired last year who were doing the kidnapping - they just couldn't bear to be separated from the community and felt bereft. Having reassured them that we would 'always be together, always be together' (sing it!), the play closed on a high. The end of a lovely, lovely day.
Happy Guardian Angels!