WILLIAM DUTTON WAS still walking towards school. Two decades after he’d finished, still. Carrying his guitar, head down, mumbling to himself, resenting that he had to go, waste another day, fill in shitty little forms that he always got wrong, screwed up, started again, or forgot to attach, eliciting a reminder email. He didn’t even like schools, but where else could a guitar teacher get work? He didn’t like how the bell was the same bell as in the ’70s – loud, metallic, unable to compromise, still cutting days into geography-sized pieces, unwilling to allow sunshine, Ginsberg’s hipster funk or fun. Fun. Fancy that. And the way teachers stood in hallways discussing assessment criteria and performance standards, like the boys were goats to be fattened to fetch the best price at the abattoir. He hated his pigeonhole, because it never contained anything he was interested in, just more work, more shit to fill in, more complaints from parents. And he hated them too. Why couldn’t they just teach their own kids, or feed them, take them to sport, imbue manners? Yes, manners. They had to be imbued. He couldn’t understand what people talked about in staff meetings. What did it matter if socks were worn below the knee? Or if no one had completed their sixty hours of professional development? What was professional development? How to make an effective rubric? Rubrics. Fuck. More shit, less interest than Mein Kampf – although at least that started a war.
He entered through the big iron gates, crossed the Brother blah-blah memorial lawns, and stopped to admire a life-sized statue of Mary. She was wearing a smock filled with needles from nearby pine trees, and there was mud on her feet from where the principal’s car drove past every morning. Her marble arms were missing. A handwritten sign, covered in perspex, explained how this was the work of vandals.
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