Wednesday, 24 June 2009

My Term as a Supply Teacher at Hogwarts

I'm one of those people who've had about a million different jobs in their lifetime. Some were unpleasant, some were dull, some were weird. The only one that manages to embody all three, however, was my stint as a supply teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

It was one of those employment agencies that set me up with the position. If you've never been with an employment agency, they're great. They ask you what kind of work you're looking for, don't listen to any of the answers, and then hand you some kind of filing or cleaning job. The conversation (to the best of my recollection) ran something like this:

"Do you like working with children?"
"No."
"Do you mind travelling for work?"
"I don't mind going, say, an hour each way, but I don't want to have to relocate or anything."
"Do you have any teaching qualifications?"
"No."
"Do you own your own magic wand?"
"My own what?"
"You own magic wand. Do you own one?"
"Uh...no."
"Okay, we'll let you know if anything comes up."

The following Thursday, I found myself standing on the platform of King's Cross Station, holding a ticket for the Hogwart's Express. I had been supplied with a list of required materials for the job, but was somewhat dubious. For a familiar, the pet shop had been rather thin, and I'd had to make to with a rather laconic Axolotl. My wand was a Curly Wurly, which I was unconvinced was going to suffice. With the aid of a friendly couple and a minor concussion, I was eventually able to make my way to platform 9 3/4, and to board the Hogwart's Express.

Do you know how long it takes a steam train to travel from Central London to the Scottish Highlands? I do. Nowhere near as long as it seems to be when you're surrounded by over-excited teenagers. I thought I'd managed to secure a carriage on my own, and was just about to start reading my erotic novel when three kids burst in. One was a speccy twat, one was a ginger twat, and one looked an awful lot like Orlando Bloom.

"Mind if we come in here?" asked Speccy.

"No, not at all." I lied.

The ginger one sat opposite me, not being punched in the face. "Are you new here?" he asked, smelling of rat droppings and wanking.

"Yeah." I said. "I'm a supply teacher for the next three months."

"Oh really?" asked Orlando, who appeared to be some sort of female. "What subject do you cover? Are you covering Defence Against The Dark Arts? We go through Defence Against The Dark Arts teachers like nobodies business. Seems we have a new one each year."

I shrugged. "I dunno. I'll just do a little bit of everything I guess. I can cook a bit, so probably Home Ec, I imagine. That's fairly simple."

The kids around me wittered on and on about nothing in particular. Some kind of new trading card or whatnot. After what seemed like a thousand years, we finally arrived at Hogwart's school. I was greeted by a large, beardy fucker.

"Hullo, there!" he said, in a hilarious "rural" accent. "You must be the new professor."

I smiled nervously, and extended my hand. "Yeah, um, that's me. Professor Von Boltthrower."

"Rubeus Hagrid's the name." he replied. "I'm the local gamekeeper."

"Pleasure to meet you Professor Hagrid."

"I'm not a paedophile." he said.

"What? I..uh...never said...of course, not." I faltered.

Oh, and forget everything you've ever heard about Albus Dumbledore. He's a complete cunt. First thing, he bollocks me for wearing a Slayer shirt, claiming that it's "not appropriate garb to teach young minds". Bearing in mind this comes from a man who lets his pet paedophile live in a shack 100 yards from the school. I staggered off to bed after his chewing out, taking out my frustration by kicking a nearby cat off of one of the moving staircases.

My first cover lesson happened to be first thing in the morning, when I was informed that Minerva McGonagall had broken every bone in her body after falling off of a flight of stairs. Those things are fucking deathtraps. Let's face it, moving staircases that aren't needed are pointless, and moving stairs that are needed are an indication that something has gone horrendously wrong with the architecture from the off.

I rocked up for the lesson, and who's sitting in the front row, but Speccy, Ginger and Orlando. The smiled and waved at me as I came in. I nodded brusquely, and slumped behind the desk. "Right...any idea what Professor McGonagall was going to be teaching today?"

Orlando's hand shot up. "Yes, Professor Von Boltthrower. We were going to be learning how to turn a white onion into a red onion."

"Well done, Orlando"." I said. "You've managed to make something awesome sound really dull."

"Orlando?" she muttered to Speccy.

I placed my briefcase on the table and looked inside for some kind-of handbook on onion transmogurificationing. As usual, it contained only my cigar case, a bottle of Jim Beam, "Master of Puppets" on tape, and a battered copy of "Strat-O-Matic Hockey". I scratched my head, trying to think of a way out of this. "We're going to do something a bit different today...um...who want to actually do some learning today?"

Orlando's hand shot into the air. "Me, sir."

"Cool. Right, Orlando, you can go over there and learn. Everyone else...we're going to learn about heavy metal and ice hockey. Bagsymapleleafs."

After ten minutes or so I started to pass the Jim Beam around. In the ensuing chaos that followed, a storm of thirty drunken, magic-enhanced, hormonal teenagers stormed the hallways. "Metalli-Fuckin-Ca" was sprayed on several paintings, some kid called Malfoy got suspended for calling Dumbledore a "Red Wings Loving Motherfucker", and I punched out the Canucks player for waving their Matt Sundin card in my face. I forget her name.

Next Week: Brad's job as a canteen worker at Forks High School, Washington

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