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'My Sammy's the perfect 10'

Oh go away. Damn. I was just beginning to enjoy this lesson. I love these rare times when they're all busy and I can mark a few books.

Now I open Sammy's book and find a purse-lipped, parent-powered, arsey little sticky note from his mother: "Please will you explain to Sammy why he only got seven out of 10? Better still, raise the mark. Many thanks."

Her yappy voice is in my head now. Damn her.

Slicer and Maddy are in the referral room and Shane's been sent home.

Without them around, the class is purposeful, almost cosy. Okay, the body count in their stories is frightening, but just look at them write. Well, I'm not interrupting Sammy now. Let him have fun with his highwaymen first.

I don't like that "only" - as if seven out of 10 puts Sammy on the scrapheap, when it is a good mark for him. What annoys me most is the "many thanks" at the end. I hate being thanked for something I haven't done yet.

What it really means is: "Just do it, scum." I'd far rather she were honest and just wrote: "Die, slave."

And I bloody did explain: "A gripping start, but this story becomes confusing because there are so many murders. Try killing just one person next time, and describe them carefully first." Seven out of 10 was generous, with all his butchered punctuation. Eight out of 10 would be a black lie.

It is not a great week for this to happen. We've all been told to BEE our pupils - "boost, encourage, empower". What a shockingly good idea. Anyway, I don't want a mother complaining that I've stomped on her child's talent while other fragile plants are being nurtured.

All right, I'll talk to him - at break. Biscuit first, then I'll go and find him.

"Telephone for you, Emily."

Ooh, I wonder who is going to boost, encourage and empower me today?

"Hello, Miss Shark, Mrs Frap here, Sammy's mother. I just thought you should know that Sammy spent three hours on his homework, and now he's really lost motivation.

"Such a pity Mrs Lardon-Hayes left. He needs guidance. Do you give them examples of good stories?'

No, I give them crap like Shakespeare, and I mark their books blindfold after a triple vodka in front of the late-night porn channel.

"Yes, I do, and we also discuss model answers sent by the exam board."

Shark, you liar, you never do that. Right, I must at all costs find that child at lunchtime today and BEE him.

But wait. Three hours on his homework? That doesn't sound like lost motivation to me. Bloody mothers. I think I'll write a story today. With a murder in it. Just the one will do.

Emily's adventures continue in a fortnight

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