So I quite truly humiliated myself this afternoon. Sigh. I publish this in the hope that laughing at myself will make me feel a little better. Here's the deal.
A while back, our staff were reminded that children are not allowed to play ball games beside the main car park at school pick up time (health and safety issue). It is, however, a very popular down-ball spot and so the rule has been much overlooked in the past.
This afternoon, I arrived at the main car park and found there was no duty teacher yet. "Must be running late," I thought. So I cast a watchful eye across the place and thought, "I'd better deal with those down-ball students". I dutifully reminded them not to play in this area afterschool etc. and they politely moved away.
And then it dawned on me. Horribly. I wasn't working this afternoon.
Therefore, I didn't have my staff card around my neck, nor was I carrying a hat or a yard duty folder or any tiny piece of equipment that would easily identify me as staff. Instead I was carrying my keys and my black handbag. So as far as all the parents nearby were concerned, they just saw another parent tell a whole group of kids to stop playing a perfectly charming game of down-ball because of some "rule" about afterschool games that they've never heard of before. To make things worse, the kids were not in the level of the school I usually teach and so they probably didn't know who I was either.
It dawned on me as I got a rather strange look from another parent. I could hardly cry out, "It's okay folks! I'm a trained professional! Nothing to see here!"
I found my children and beat a hasty retreat.
I meant well, I really did.
It was just a reflex action.
Think I'll pick the kids up from a different spot tomorrow.