Super Juice. Just words stuck together.

When I was about six, my family and I spent a week in a Guest House in Torquay. It was a nice place, as far from Fawlty Towers as you could imagine and the family who ran it were especially pleasant. I would run down for dinner every night, hoping for a seat near the window of the dining room but, more importantly, I’d get there first because I was being offered Super Juice. ‘Super Juice?’ the lovely people would ask, knowing that I’d accept with childish, exuberant glee. I felt special, felt like I was drinking elixir.

It wasn’t until years later that I realised my mistake. The initial confusion on the lady’s face, followed by humor and a ruffle of my hair, disguised the fact that I wasn’t being offered anything super at all. It was a choice. Soup or juice. I can still remember the crushing humiliation I felt when that sunk in, though no one else in my family remembered. Embarrassed beyond belief by my childish naïveté.

Now, looking back, I think it’s hilarious…

When I was about thirty six, I spent weeks and months in a cold University classroom in Glasgow. It was a nice place, as far from Fawlty Towers as you could imagine and the people who ran it were especially pleasant. I would run from school for classes every Thursday night, hoping for a seat near the window of the classroom but more importantly, I’d get there first because I was being offered Chartered Teacher. ‘Chartered Teacher?’ the lovely people would ask, knowing that I’d accept with childish, exuberant glee. I felt special, felt like I was learning to change things.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized my mistake. The initial confusion on the lady’s face, followed by humour and a ruffle of my hair, disguised the fact that I wasn’t being offered anything Chartered at all. It was a choice. Pay us lots of money for something we’ll take away in a few years time. I can still remember the crushing humiliation I felt when that sunk in, though no one else in my school remembered. Embarrassed beyond belief by my childish naïveté.

Now, looking back, I am disgusted and angry.

I’m disgusted by a profession which destroyed the Chartered Teacher programme because, for goodness sake, teachers could CHOOSE to do it without asking for permission. I’m angry because colleagues immediately dismissed it as divisive, not heeding the hours required to complete the modules, the massive personal expense, on my part anyway, I was still paying off long after the salary increments began.

Now I’m left waiting to find out if any of it meant anything. My Chartered Teacher modules may help me towards a Masters qualification, may not. I may have my salary increments taken away from me, I may not. I may be asked to take on duties which were not in the original plan, I may not.

What does it say about a profession which crushes the enthusiasm of teachers who want to be better?

Naive? Perhaps. Either way, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Be wary of nice people offering you juice. Super or not.

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