Just when you think you've seen it all..

7th October 2005 at 01:00
Well, I've seen it all now!" I said to anyone within earshot as I opened my post one morning. The first sheet of paper I pulled from an A4 envelope addressed to "The Senco" (me) was a series of pictures of poos. That's right: poos. There were hard, round ones; well-formed, cracked ones; loose, raggedy-edged ones; and watery ones. They were organised in a sort of sliding scale of stool and came with a note from the community nurse saying could we please mark on Jordan's toilet chart which poos he was doing each day. As I said before: I think I've seen it all now.

Of course I hadn't. As I went to put the poo chart in the correct pigeon hole with a little note from me saying, "Please do your best with this or at least go through the motions!!!" I came across the speech and language therapist who was struggling down the hall with a talking parrot on her shoulder, a shawl over her head and a rolled up copy of Majesty magazine under her arm. "We're doing prepositions," she explained faintly - faintly because she had a rubber bourbon biscuit in her mouth. This was quite normal behaviour for a speech and language therapist, though, and I wasn't alarmed.

What caused me to exclaim the second time that day that I'd seen it all wasn't her or even Derek the computer guy trying to fit into a pair of size 5 stilettos for his part as the ugly sister in the pantomime, or even Chris the caretaker crawling commando style across the nursery playground, butterfly net in hand, trying to catch an escaped cockatoo; no, it was the second item of post I opened. Another A4 envelope, addressed to "The PSHE teacher" (me again) and containing a thick catalogue of teaching resources from the United States.

I went through page after page of posters encouraging "teens" not to drink, smoke or have sex, not to smoke while having sex, drink while pregnant or smoke while breastfeeding drunk. There were models of penises to practise putting condoms on, foetuses in wine glasses and lungs full of tar. There were strap-a-bump-to-your-tummy kits for pregnancy simulation, breast cancer kits with lumps you could feel and "I'm waiting" wristbands to encourage celibacy. But what made me spit out the first coffee of the morning was the page advertising the "knitted uterus with snap-on vagina".

Really. I haven't made this up.

They looked like woollen sleeves your Granny might have made for a jumper that was never going to fit; one was a regular sleeve to demonstrate a vaginal birth and the other had a zip in the elbow area to show how a caesarean birth happens. You could even get little new-born baby dolls to pull through the holes. Well, as I said to the art teacher who was on his back looking at the ceiling seeing what it was like to see the world supine before he put up his display, "I promise you, now I've seen it all!"

Maria Corby is deputy head of a special school for pupils with severe and multiple learning difficulties. She writes under a pseudonym

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