Friday, 12 March 2010
Being Nice by Meg Harper
Ahah! It’s Monday and this is Schoolvisitville-on-sea! Hurray! It only entailed a last minute change of travel plan when we realised that my husband really did need the car, so I have arrived in the civilised way by train. I only had to stay with my sister over night in Birmingham and get up at 5.45! Yey! I’m raring to go. Where’s my pick up?
Ahah! So really they wanted me to go to a different station! Fine. No worries. The nice taxi man takes me to my first school and we have a jolly nice chat. First rule of author visits according to Penny Dolan’s Survival Guide is Be Nice. So I am. I have been being Nice since 6.15 when my brother-in-law took me to the railway station.
Ahah! The teacher taking this session didn’t know I was coming. Neither did the kids! No worries – we have a great time anyway – except for the three who don’t come back after break because they don’t want to miss PE and ‘Miss said it was OK’. Wounded? No, no. I am far too Nice.
Ahah! Lunchtime! I am famished. It’s a long time since breakfast. A taxi whisks me across town to the next school. This taxi driver is Not Nice. He does not want to talk so I am Nice and Quiet. Phew.
‘Ahah!’ says the Nice receptionist. ‘We’re so glad you’ve arrived. We’ve got two classes waiting for you in the library.’
‘But I haven’t had any lunch yet,’ I say Nicely.
Looks of horror.
‘We’ll try and get you some. But the children are waiting for you in the library.’
‘Yes, I do understand how difficult it is,’ I say very Nicely indeed, ‘and I’ll go and start the session – but I do need some lunch please.’
The egg sandwiches and biscuits look enticingly Nice, sitting on the desk while I talk to the children. In the end I ask a Nice teacher to read a draft for me while I stuff them down my face (nicely).
Ahah! Two schools and three workshops down and it is time to go to my B&B. Oh goodie.
‘So where do you need to be taken?’ asks the very Nice Head of English.
‘I don’t know,’ I say. ‘The agency said you were booking it.’
‘No, they said that they were.’
We are both very Nice about it, especially when the agency lady is not at work and we have to wait while enquiries are made. I am especially nice when the phone goes and it is not the agency but the Head of English’s little boy’s nursery – he is throwing up violently and needs a parent RIGHT NOW!
The agency sorts it out. The Head of English (who deserves the Nice Woman of the Year Award) sends her husband to collect her son and takes me to my extremely Nice B&B and I finish my day with a nice hot shower, a very Nice tasty meal and an incredibly Nice walk on the beach under the Nicest sunset I’ve seen for a long time. My face aches a bit from my Nice smile but I cannot deny that I have had a Nice day.
Penny is right. Be Nice. Then you can cope with absolutely anything on a school visit. (Well – maybe not – nobody’s wiped their nose on my skirt (I wear drainpipes just in case!) or thrown up on me yet!) It’s as well, really. I’ve visited ten in the last fortnight! Can I be horrible and grumpy for a bit now please??? Seriously, though – it’s been great fun – and if you haven’t read Penny’s post on the ten reasons for doing them, please do! Now I’m really looking forward to some quiet time in my study!
PS.I'm not stealing a baby in the picture - just taking part in my Princess Amelia workshop for Reception and Year 1!