Young male teachers (particularly in primary schools) sometimes come in for a bit of extra attention from young mums.
Not that I was ever competing with Brad Pitt, but as the only single, heterosexual male in the school, I was sometimes the butt of light-hearted flirtatious jokes and occasional sexualised but I thought harmless banter.
To be perfectly honest with you, I enjoyed it. I was flattered.
Every Christmas the school PTA organised a highly successful and lucrative Christmas Fayre. It was successful in bringing together parents, pupils and teachers in a very convivial way.
There was a range of stalls from Tombola to ‘Bash the Rat’ to Santa’s Grotto but this year there was also a new one: ‘A Christmas Kiss under Santa's Mistletoe’ where each patron put on a Santa’s hat, stood under the mistletoe and kissed their choice person on the cheek - with a photo snap-shot pasted up in Christmas card as a souvenir to take away and keep.
All good clean fun... (though I think you can see where this is going…)
The stall was attracting hoards of people and making lots of money. Parents kissing their darling little children… children kissing their "Best Mum in the World"… proud grandparents kissing their grandchildren… classmates kissing their best friends… This thing was printing money.
Then one or two mums started coming up to me making requests - the kind of request that was difficult to refuse. They wanted to have their picture taken under the mistletoe - kissing me.
It seemed harmless enough, especially as it was for the school fund - so under pressure - as much from some of the excited children as the mums - I made the mistake of joking: “Oh alright… for the sake of school fund…!”
It was all done in a very jovial way, intended and executed in good fun. I enjoyed it.
Within minutes, there was a line of about a dozen mums queuing up.
The stall made a lot of money that day.
Was I an asset to the coffers of the school fund?
Or had I become a liability to the school’s reputation?
Alan Newland worked as a teacher, teacher-trainer and headteacher in London for over 20 years and then for a decade with the DfE and the GTC. He now lectures on teaching and runs the award-winning social media network newteacherstalk. You can follow him on Twitter at @newteacherstalk.
His new book: ‘Becoming a teacher – the legal, ethical and moral implications of entering society’s most fundamental profession’ is published by Crown House Publishing and can be ordered here.
You may be interested in his course in ‘The Foundations of Professionalism in Teaching’ – a 3-module course with over 4.5 hours of HD quality video presentations, additional course reading and materials, self assessment exercises and completion certificates.