The lifting of restrictions has meant that school outings have resumed. For the first time in three years noisy groups of teenagers can again enjoy the sort of experience familiar to their parents and grandparents. Climbing aboard a coach and heading off somewhere, of course, the significance is never in the destination visited. Instead the point of outings is in the journeying together and the consumption of sweets, crisps, and junk food, with litre bottles of fizzy drinks.
Perhaps it was the prospect of Pringles, pop and peppermint cream chocolate that caused the distraction. The buzz of excitement created by the expectations of the trip may have prompted a moment of carelessness when preparing for the day.
It is normal practice for a teacher who will be absent to provide material to be used by the teachers who are covering the classes. Circulating the lessons electronically means they are easily accessible to all of the staff, they can be opened in whatever classroom the covering teacher is teaching.
So it was that an email reached all the school staff with ‘cover lessons’ in the subject line.
Members of staff looking for material to use in lessons were to be disappointed, there were no lessons attached. The email was an application to another school for a teaching post.
One can only assume that a bemused head teacher or school secretary in another school received a set of cover lessons under the subject line ‘job application.’
Of course, in times when wrote letters on paper and put them into envelopes and posted them, it was always possible for the wrong letter to be put into the wrong envelope. (This could be magnified with a large mailing where the sequences of letters and addressed envelopes did not exactly correspond). But if you were posting a job application, there would have been no likelihood whatsoever that you would have made multiple copies of your application and that you would have posted them to each and every one of your colleagues.
The convenience of electronic communication has become a source of embarrassment and a probable loss of confidence in the teacher.
Perhaps it is the sheer speed of electronic options that is at the heart of the problem, the capacity to act without taking time for review or reflection. How many difficult situations have been caused by the swift typing and dispatch of words to the wrong recipients? A few seconds to properly label emails and attachments can save a lot of embarrassment.