Today we did a computer software fair at a local primary school and met some very pleasant, hard working, committed teachers and an especially nice headteacher, which made a very welcome change from our experiences yesterday. (Sorry, I forgot - that was only a fairy story!)
The wide variety of atmosphere and ethos in schools always intrigues me. You can usually get a good idea of what a school is like as soon as you go into the building. The common giveaways are the attitude of the secretary and headteacher, the friendliness or otherwise of staff as they pass you by on the way to wherever and, very importantly, the behaviour and attitude of the children.
There are schools which are like an educational version of the Ideal Homes Exhibition, which look very impressive but give the impression that everything is there for effect and the children have very little to do with it and, at the other end of the scale, there are those which have that 'lived in' look but are very 'hands on.'
Today's school was the latter, an old Victorian building, not very well maintained and definitely with a lived in look, but the staff were friendly and determined to make our visit as much of a success as they could. The headteacher made coffee for us when we arrived to set up - how impressive is that?
If I were still teaching, that is one school I would be happy to work in.