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Don’t speak to me I’m tongue tied at the School PTA

Image: Robert Cochrane /

I don’t know where it came from, but I suspect the remnants of old school Scottish marmerisms come into force whenever I have to deal with teachers.

I keep putting my hand up whenever a group of parents is asked to volunteer by questions like “who would like to join the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) to raise funds for the school.”   You’d think I’d have learned by now, but my rebounding arm hasn’t understood to keep still when faced with a panel of educators.

I try to visualise holding my arm down, and keeping the whole row of fellow parents entertained during enforced voting and mutual appreciation sessions, but my arm shoots up in the air to send me once more into “meeting terror.”

Anticipating the first meeting brings misty tears.  The usual conversations I have with teachers tend to begin with “I apologise for the disruption my son has caused,” so I enter self-consciously when the day actually comes round to take my place at the table of horror.

Keeping eyes fixed to the table, I pretend to shuffle papers wildly so as not to attract any attention from the other obviously completely competent parents who have joined me.  I realise I have committed the cardinal sin of “meeting etiquette,” as they all sit down with their skinny lattes while I sip my full fat cappuccino.

Sweating clammy hands refuse to keep hold of the pen, and it slips between my fingers. I surreptitiously wipe my hands on my jeans, and they come up with a lovely bright tinge of blue.  I try to hide the glowing neon, and realise that skinny neighbour is watching my predicament as she glares suspiciously out of the corner of her eye.

I become conscious of silence at the table, and realise everyone is looking at me.  I rack my brains to try and recall any of the conversation that has gone on, and decide that I need to introduce myself.  Opening my mouth, no words come out.  I eventually bark my name parrot fashion with dry mouth and raspy voice, while my heart beats so loud that you could hear it in New York.  They still glare at me.  I look to skinny neighbour, and smile at her to make it her turn since she glared at me first.

Skinny neighbour has obviously been just as engrossed by my neon hand as I was, and she repeats the same changing name mantra with shrieking, annoyed voice.  Relieved at not looking like the only total pillock in the room, I feel a slight warming to skinny neighbour and give her a smile.

Losing myself in the conversation of the room, I try to focus on what is important.  The Chair decides it is time to split up the work for the rest of the school term and asks for volunteers to attend a specialised work group.

My arm shoots up in the air with a life of its own !!!

I never learn.