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Bill Hicks takes a weekly look at the hot topics in the TES chatrooms

There I was, scouring the TES forums at 9 o'clock on Wednesday evening: sad, you might think, and I might agree, but at least I get paid for it, sort of.

In fact I was getting sadder by the minute as I read some of the comments on Truronian's poll of Staffroom users' voting intentions, when I was slapped around the face by the title of a new thread.

"Today I saved a kid's life but it could have got serious," it read. "Is your school safe?"

My first thoughts were melodrama or wind-up, but the poster, egyptiangirl, is the last person you would suspect of that type of attention-seeking behaviour.

"I saved a child from choking,", she wrote. "I cried for an hour afterwards. The reason I was so shaken was that I had absolutely no way of getting help..." The only phones nearby were in locked offices. Luckily, egyptiangirl had managed to dislodge whatever was blocking the child's throat. But she wondered, were other schools so ill-equipped to deal with emergencies?

Within minutes, teachers were queueing up to comfort our heroine and tell their own traumatic stories. Veggie, despite being trained in first aid, "had the shakes for the rest of the day" after treating a kid with a serious cut. Phasmid, who had to "administer life saving techniques on a few occasions", hoped the incident would be " a wake up call for your school". Ronan, our tireless dispenser of tea and sympathy, clocked in with the chatroom equivalent of a bear-hug: ((((((((((((((((EG)))))))))))))))).

(Check the 'Hugs' thread in Personal for more extreme examples of the abuse of typography in the quest for more expressive emoticons).

Like many others, rubyruby could not understand "why basic first aid and life saving skills are not a vital part of every teacher training course."

And thank you to Scotia for this gruesome tale: "I once had a pupil impale herself on a wooden cone during PE. Still gives me chills thinking about it after all these years." Cantthinkofausername had dealt with a boy choking on an extra-strong mint: "I did the Heimlich manoeuvre thing and out came the mint and a pool of saliva."

If you know anyone who thinks teaching is an easy option, make them read this thread. And if they also believe teachers are mostly lefties, show them Truronian's election poll as well. It's an eye-opener.

Bill Hicks is editor of the TES website.

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