Let’s Talk About World Book Day

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As an English teacher with an extreme aversion to fancy dress, World Book Day places me in an annual bind. Anything that promotes reading and a love of literature is to be applauded, including secondary school kids continuing the primary school fashion of dressing as a favourite literary character. It’s when the staff are also asked to indulge their inner child by donning a costume that I have a problem: I don’t do fancy dress!

Before you tag me as a party-pooper who should be cracking out the green face paint and applying a Grinch mask, I should explain that my antipathy towards fancy dress stems from a deep-seated distrust of the uncanny that has been medically diagnosed as I DON’T DO FANCY DRESS.

At best I’ll make a token effort to support my subject. God help the introverted maths teacher who’s expected to find the time to pull together not only a spectacular storybook outfit for their infant child but one for themselves too. So here’s a cheat sheet for anyone else who would really rather not partake in such nonsense.

Mary Poppins

Our childminding duties dwarf anything Mary ever dealt with, and we’re teaching them things an awful lot more useful than a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. You could say we’re practically perfect in every way, although we’re playing the P.L. Travers Poppins and therefore look more austere than Julie Andrews or Emily Blunt ever mustered. Accessorise with a brolly if you must.

Atticus Finch

Easy enough for any male teacher who wears a suit and frowns upon racial injustice.

Dr Jekyll

One for the science teachers, or anybody else who can get hold of a lab coat. Anyone questioning the integrity of your endeavour could bring out Hyde.

Katniss Everdeen

The grown-up version who’s survived it all. Oh, the things we’ve seen. Every year there’s a new challenge in which a cohort of savage children tear each other apart and try taking us down with them. Now we’ve put our arrows away and just want to be left alone to lead a quiet life.

Wade or Samantha

Mess with their minds by entering the OASIS, as imagined by Ernest Cline and reprocessed by Steven Spielberg. You can either claim to be the offline character (since you can never really know what somebody you meet online looks like in reality) or one of the protagonists’ alternative avatars: mild-mannered high school teacher.

Josef K.

Not sure of the attire but modern teachers lost in an endless maze of bureaucratic and impersonal data have got the haunted and confused expression of this persecuted soul down pat.

Where’s Wally?

Forget the Breton top. Just hide out for the day.

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