6th May 2005 at 01:00
Time to clear out that cabinet? Bill Hicks finds posters hawking their wares in the TES's own jumble sale

Down in the TES website bunker, we've been singing variations on First World War songs (sample, "When this lousy election's overOh! How happy we shall be") as your questions pile up, inches deep, in our splendid Election 2005 online hustings forum.

Of course, by the time you read this, it will all be over. All we know for sure is that a suited middle-aged male will have been photographed grinning on the steps of 10 Downing Street. Who knows, maybe our teacher-candidates' responses might have played some small part in Mr X, Y or Z's election triumph.

Seeking a break from the high excitement of the election forum, I found myself rummaging around in the TES Marketplace, our very own online flea market cum car boot sale cum newsagent's window. There is an election connection here. This is where poor student teachers can lighten their debt burden by offloading all those books on education theory they had to acquire for their PGCE year.

But hang on, the first item I came across was someone selling a "beautiful" house in Florida (no swimming pool, but the garden's big enough for one), asking price, $290,000. No takers yet, so if you're interested... Further in, BusyNQT had "a whole cupboard full of unused Passe Partout and Auf Deutsch that we would like to give to a good home". Again, no takers, but move fast, and you'll need a car to pick them up from the school in Surrey. Becs22 has set up her stall with not one, not two, but all three QTS skills test books, and has a good bit of patter: "I passed all three of my tests first time, so the books must help!" But it looks as though they've been snapped up already.

Never mind, there's lots more for determined bargain-hunters. You could become the proud owner of a 256MB memory card (pound;20 o.n.o.) or 10 copies of the Collins Focus on Literacy pupil texts at pound;2 a throw.

(Another election issue swims to mind: is it not shameful that so many teachers so demonstrably have to buy class sets of textbooks with their own money?) You could also fit yourself up with a holiday by Lake Como, or some "World War Two artefacts" including "one US steel helmet complete with liner" for pound;80. Or a pair of giant African land snails (but these may have sold out by now).

Then I stumbled across an appeal for perhaps an even rarer commodity: at least two experienced headteachers, needed now. If this turns out to be from an agency, it's coming off. You must play by the rules, my dears, you really must.

Bill Hicks is editor of the TES website. www.tes.co.ukstaffroom

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