Uber-supply teacher "Frank Chalk" - who has won many staffroom fans with his blog and book about his experiences - suggets a cunning plan to control difficult classes: "I visited my friends the lab technicians at lunchtime in order to borrow two things which I believe will give me a fighting chance of getting a peaceful lesson. On my desk, I have a shoebox, partly filled with straw and with holes drilled in the lid. Next to it lies a small thermometer and a voltimeter. Outside the room, there's the usual, chaotic gaggle of kids.
"As I line them up, I explain about how we must keep silent in the classroom as the hamster is not well. I have to look after him, because I used to be a vet (taking care to keep a straight face). If we are very quiet indeed we might be able to have a look at him at the end of the lesson. They sit down like little angels and get on with their work quietly. Why, oh, why, did I not think of bringing a furry friend to the lesson years ago?"
Mr Chalk - an evil genius on the evidence of his frank teaching memoir, It's Your Time You're Wasting, continues: "From time to time I very carefully poke the thermometer into the box to take poor Harvey's temperature and then note it down carefully... "Occasionally, I put the two leads from the voltmeter in to check his heartbeat. I explain in a hushed voice that we can't use a stethoscope because his heart is very small and I would not be able to hear it.
Unfortunately, because Chevaunne let us all down by shrieking we will not be able to see him this lesson, but I am a reasonable man and I may give them another chance when I have them next time. Lots of nods..."