Christmas Day 2014. At dawn’s first light, a progressive teacher logged in to Twitter and tweeted Christmas wishes to all, specifically extending those wishes to include “all the traditional teachers too”. Initially, the trads thought that the progressive may have just been in role in a Mantle of the Expert exercise, but they soon realised that the greetings were genuine and heartfelt and offered their own greetings in return. Such was the warmth of this initial exchange that more and more progressive and traditional teachers logged in to see what was happening. And they too offered their greetings to one another. And so it was that the two groups of teachers stood there, in no man’s webspace, eating plum puddings, singing ‘Fairytale of New York’ in harmony and exchanging Lynx Africa gift sets with one another.
Presently, one of the trads pulled out a football and kicked it over towards the progressives. One of those progressives brought out two itchy, ill-fitting jumpers that had been knitted by their nan and placed them down to make a goal. The trads followed suit at their end and thus began a legendary game of football.
The ball went back and forth across Twitter for quite some time with no goals scored by either side. Then, with both teams getting closer and closer to scoring, a bespectacled man with long, flowing red hair logged into Twitter and picked up the ball. With it tucked securely under his arm, he turned and walked off without saying a word.
“Hey! We were playing with that!” shouted one of the progressives.
“Yes. Give us our ball back you scallywag!” cried a traditional.
“Who are you anyway?” another teacher asked.
The man turned around to reveal himself. They all instantly recognised him as a man of some standing in the education community. He took a step forward and spoke, and when he did, everyone listened.
“I am John David Blake: history teacher, Labour teacher, writer and orator. I am taking this ball away because there is no such thing as bloody truce football. It’s a lie. How can you play football on Twitter? Think about it. You can’t. It’s a bloody silly idea and this is a bloody silly story. Now, get back to being nice to one another, and leave the fictional sentimentality to Sainsbury’s.” He turned away again, and with a swish of his lustrous mane, he was gone.
The teachers all looked at one another. And then one of the traditional teachers said, “It’s a good point. You can’t actually play football on Twitter.”
“Well, not literally, of course,” replied one of the progressive teachers. “But we could just pretend to play a game of football. You know, like a role play?”
“Piss off,” said another of the trads. “I’m not role playing a game of football. That’s just daft. And a waste of time.”
“Well, I think it’s a good idea,” added one of the progressives. “It might be fun.”
“Fun? What’s fun about it?”
“Don’t be so negative…”
“It’s not negative to question…”
“You are so rude…”
“I don’t like your tone…”
This argument continued to volley back and forth, but this was Christmas day, and the teachers had turkeys to carve, LEGO Death Stars to build and Noel Edmonds to watch on the telly. So, as the teachers’ families gradually pulled their loved ones away from their tablets and laptops, the argument – that had so suddenly broken out – began to ebb away.
Because, as they all would come to realise that afternoon, Christmas is a time for arguing with your own family, not people on the internet.
Bless us, everyone.*
*Except the traditionals/progressives/dichotomy deniers/politicians (delete as appropriate).