Bill Hicks takes a weekly look at the hot topics in the TES chatrooms
We don't especially encourage competition on the TES forums (www.tes.co.uk staffroom). We don't offer medals, smileys, or even gold stars to honour our most prolific, witty or intelligent posters.
If you want that sort of thing, they're dished out liberally on a hundred other websites. Harder to find is the variety and vivacity of conversation you'll enjoy in most of the TES's 40 forums, day and night.
However, we do attempt to draw attention the most interesting threads of the day, by way of a list of "hot topics" displayed on the home page. Yes, an element of competition creeps in here, we can't deny it.
Strange as it may seem, there's some prestige attached to getting your topic on to that list of five, to the extent that some posters dream up sensationalist subject lines in the hope of sharing a brief slice of hot-topic glory.
This is not, I am sure, why someone started a thread in the NQT forum with this provocative title, "Injecting a child in the gum!!!?!", but we bumped it up anyway.
Its author, "satsumatired" (yes, I know, but please be patient; we'll devote a whole column to user names one day), actually needed some practical advice, as follows: "A note came round school today with details on what to do should pupil x have an epileptic fit. This included injecting him with medication into his gum!.... Is it unreasonableover the top to ask for more guidance on this scenario??"
You can see why satsumatired was worried, and heshe was soon being showered with advice. In comes furrycat, with this: "Injecting in the gum? Are you sure? (My brother is epileptic, and I have never heard of this!)" Soon there's a consensus that (a) teachers should not be administering medication, and certainly not without training; and (b) that the note meant injection between, rather than into, the gums of a child having a fit.
Such a serious topic would not be complete without its tasteless joke. Thanks, ElaineC, for this groan-inducing one-liner: "Apparently kids have found a new way of getting high on Ecstasy - It's known as E by gum!" At which point the thread falls off the hot topic list.
One last thing. Today is a special day for the TES Staffroom. We're moving out of our battered old online premises, and into a sleek new purpose-built website. If all goes to plan - and such is the genius of our technical team, we have every confidence that it will - www.tes.co.ukstaffroom will be a better, brighter, even more welcoming environment. Let us know what you think.
Bill Hicks is editor of the TES website