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Life blighted by named bananas and lice

WHAT drives teachers crazy?

Jammed photocopiers - especially at 8.45am - closely followed by head lice, playground duty, dirty mugs and parents.

At least that is what more than 220 of you told us when Friday magazine asked for lists of the five things that irk teachers most about school life (we banned any mention of Ofsted). The senders of the three best answers won a Hotpoint dishwasher for their staffroom.

Most replies came from primary teachers and heads, but there was a sprinkling from secondary schools, caretakers, school librarians, secretaries and teaching assistants.

Staff toilets, sick children who come to school and Velcro-fastening shoes were other contenders. Velcro? No one says why, perhaps it is the sound it makes.

Then there are the parents who write their child's name on their banana; the art and music teachers who wear brown leather bomber jackets ("has nobody told them the war is over?"). And glitter.

The only man on the staff of a Devon primary says that having to scrub lipstick off coffee cups proves his desperate need for a dishwasher. He also hates "having to join in conversations about weight loss and being sighed at when I ask who Trinny and Susannah are".

A Lincolnshire primary has problems with its three ladies' loos. "Each has its own special danger," writes a member of staff. But it is the third that is the real problem. "You can only get in and close the door by climbing in behind the loo and reaching across. If you are larger than average, then you have no chance. To get out ... oh, you get the picture."

The last word goes to a teacher in a south London secondary. "We have had a dishwasher in our staffroom for three years and no one wants either to fill or empty it. The sink is still full of cups." Ah well.

Dishwasher winners, Friday magazine, 3

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