Thank God it's Friday

13th February 1998 at 00:00
Monday You need GCSE maths to qualify as a teacher but when I try to add up the money I've collected for a theatre trip, I'm reaching for the abacus. Three kids drop out, so I ring the theatre in my one free lesson and cancel their seats.

The head pops in to check that all is going well. Have I ticked off the relevant sections in the health and safety handbook? At the end of school, two children appear at the drama studio door and beg to be allowed to go on the trip. One has half the money, the other almost the exact amount - only 40 pence missing, due to her urgent need for a can of Coke on the way over from the main building. I drop the loose change into my drawer and leave a note reminding myself to ring the theatre again.

Tuesday No free periods, so I try to ring the theatre before school, forgetting that people in that world don't have to be up and about so early. I drop the money from my drawer in to the office. "Are you going to fill in a balance sheet for me at some point?" asks the secretary. I mumble something about flexible figures and dash out to take my register. At break, Scott and Linsey turn up to see me. Could I write a note to Linsey's mum, saying she doesn't have to wear school uniform to the play? Scott's mum has sent him with the money for the ticket, but not the extra Pounds 1.50 for the bus. "Mum says I can get an under-16 bus ticket for 34p, so I've to meet you there."

I wake up at 3am and realise that I forgot to phone the theatre again.

Wednesday Sneak out of a talk on head lice during PSE and phone the theatre. The young man at the other end is polite, despite the fact that I am altering the booking for the fourth time in two weeks.

The head pops in to check whether I am familiar with the play. Is there anything that parents might complain about? I assure her that the theatre would not be selling tickets to school parties if it were not suitable. I try not to remember my last school, where a visit to see the musical Grease led to accusations of exposing young girls to teenage drinking, joyriding, pregnancy, and the outrageous idea that you have to dress like a tart to get a boyfriend.

Thursday Final donations flow in during the day. I stay at school and mark, so that I can meet the bus and check it for belts, tyres, sober driver with a licenceI before allowing my precious cargo to board.

The play goes well, apart from one dodgy male nudity scene, and losing Janine Brown in the second half. I found her in the bar, halfway through a Martini, bumming cigarettes from the waiter and telling him she is a drama student. Well, I suppose GCSE counts.

I swear the kids to silence regarding the naked man ("Miss, he had a really little one!" "Wouldn't you when faced with 50 screaming school girls?" remarked my colleague dourly) and thanked them for their excellent behaviour. Janine sulks.

Friday The head thanks me, the kids have already forgotten about it.

I sit in the office at the end of the day, counting piles of coins and scruffy notes, making incoherent marks on the back of an envelope. Eventually, I make my amount to be 60p over, and settle for that. As I am on my way out of the door, I hear the secretary on the phone. "No, Mrs Greene, I can assure you, we have not run any school trips to a strip show. I think you must be mistaken. "

Jennifer Tickle teaches drama in a north Manchester comprehensive

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