One Woman’s Week: Poles Apart

By Karen Fenessey

If one more person makes some remark to me about how 'terrific' the holidays of school teachers are and how they are so 'jealous', I will grab them by the throat and shake them until they are dead and in hell.

These people just don't understand how traumatic term-time is for us educationalists – and how we need extended holiday periods to reflect. So you can imagine my rage when this week, my downtime was rudely interrupted by a clueless Polish woman who, sadly, lives in my apartment block.

I was at home, meditating on the important issues raised in ITV's post-feminist feature Loose Women, when my doorbell rang. It was a rather bedraggled woman who told me in (frankly abhorrent) English that she'd heard from the man in the shop that I was a teacher (that's the last time I gift information about my life to that foul-smelling blabbermouth).  

"My daughter eight years old and not understand English good," she babbled incoherently, "Please Ms Karen is possible help daughter read homework before start school in two week".  Well, I didn't know whether to laugh in her face or have her arrested!

"Listen carefully," I pronounced in perfect English, "I don't know who you think you are coming round my flat, or for that matter this country, like you're some kind of VIP, but I think it's time you learned some ground rules: You're not in Poland now, okay? People here don't satisfy their obscene lust for cash by working every last second of the day. You call yourself Catholics? My boyfriend Donny's sister had a couple of you guys plaster her spare room and they worked all day on the Sabbath, and plus she's a JEW. I don’t know if you people have DVD players back home in Auschwitz or wherever, but if you do, then you can think of me like the actress Nicole Kidman. What do you think she does when you people come round her flat on a Tuesday afternoon when she’s thinking about feminism and go "Nicole! Nicole! Do Days of Thunder!" I'll tell you what she does: she sets her Doberman on them, and if you don’t know what that is, then basically it's like a huge dinosaur."

The idiot didn't appear to understand 'doberman' or 'dinosaur'. I tutted and gave up trying to reason with her. "Just get the hell away from me," I sighed and slammed the door shut.  

These people are like leeches, who want to squeeze every last grain of blood from my poor, broken body. It's a miracle that I've held up this long and continue to devote my entire life to educating the young. I live in hope that the government will finally recognise the arduous sacrifice that we teachers make, and will reflect this in how much we are paid.