Gemma Warren column

I thought that you might like updating on the wedding situation. I've got the dress. It's classic and elegant but modern, with a hint of individuality. The invitations have been printed. I haven't got the flowers yet because there's a raging debate going on in my family about whether we want a "colour theme". I'll spare you the details, but needless to say we're all finding it endlessly absorbing. I've even read a book called The Modern Bride's Guide to Getting Married, which contains scintillating chapters such as "What to do if you ladder your tights", and "How to cope when you're not the centre of attention any more". It's very exciting.

I've just got the small issue of managing to hold my job together for another week or so, and everything should be fine. If my line manager finds me playing one more game of hangman and trying to pass it off as a literacy activity because I've been too preoccupied to plan my lessons, I'm going to get the sack. Needless to say, my students are being very supportive. Especially the girls, who strangely enough seem to be quite happy to dispense with the usual round of edifying activities and listen sympathetically to stories about my future mother-in-law. They're full of ideas about the whole colour theme issue as well, and have been remarkably adept at suggesting ideas for arranging the tables in the hall. Let's call it thinking skills. Or something like that. I've only got one problem with all this pupil involvement, though - they all think they're coming to the wedding.

Now don't get me wrong. I love my classes. I love my form, and I'm eternally grateful for the patience they've shown over the past few months. Their willingness to go along with hastily improvised "drama sessions" in PSHE which all revolve around the theme of murdering future in-laws has been genuinely touching. Some of the methods they've devised have been creative to say the least. But can I really invite them to the ceremony? However close we are, can I really picture them standing next to my ancient uncles and aunties, participating in the service, when it's hard enough to get them to be quiet for 30 seconds while I take the register?

Two opposite scenarios are playing themselves out in my head. The first sees them coming to the service, all dressed up and looking cute, not laughing when they realise that I've actually got parents, and impressing all my family and friends with what a wonderful teacher I am to have such adoring and well-behaved pupils. The second - nightmare - scenario involves me telling them when and where it is, them telling half the school, and the whole ceremony being taken over by sniggering teenagers who don't know me. It's a hard one.

There's no reason to believe that my students would do anything untoward, but can a wedding really survive such a blurring of the normal teacher-pupil relationship? Is it okay to discuss veil lengths when you're supposed to be supervising homework club, but not let them see the veil in action? Perhaps I should have refused to talk about the whole thing, but then there I am, pretending that just because I'm a teacher, I don't also have a life.

GemmaWarren is an assistant special need co-ordinator at a London school. Email:

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