Thank God It's Friday

4th November 1994 at 00:00
Monday: Well, here I am, at Notvery Maintained Junior School, full of anticipation and cling-film wrapped sandwiches at the prospect of yet another week teaching my class of 35 Year 6 pupils.

Most of my fellow students are snug in bed with 'flu which I have failed to catch so far, despite numerous cold showers and walks in the rain without a vest on. Luckily a quarter of my class are also absent, though I cannot help wondering why Dwayne, Wayne, Sharon and Tracy haven't been away yet..

Tuesday: I arrive hoping to have halved the class by this stage, but no such luck. I've been told (probably by a Christmas cracker motto) that the key to successful teaching is in keeping the children's attention.

Is this why I've ended up leaping around the classroom alternating between a bad Orville the Duck impersonation and an even worse Prince Charles' voice while reading the class a story? I've certainly got the children's attention.

Unfortunately, I've also got the attention of next-door's class, the headteacher, chair of governors, numerous parents, and nearby neighbours (I'm apparently interfering with their television reception). I hear the sound of a siren in the distance - surely they can't be coming for me already?

Wednesday: As my tutor's coming into school to assess me today, I decide to use a bit of my primary teacher's resourcefulness. "Drape printing today class!" With miles of drapes covering the floor and desks thick with newspaper, potatoes, polystyrene tiles, water pots and ready-mix paints, I'm quite happy and just about ready when my tutor arrives.

She walks into the classroom, spots 30 dishevelled children, dodges a paint ball, and walks swiftly back out again. I can feel an A-minus in the offing.

Thursday: Things are getting desperate. I face failure and embarrassment as I remain the only student not to be in bed with 'flu. Still, I rise to the challenge and devise a collaborative pupil-teacher venture to attack the problem.

It consists of spending the whole day sneezing on as many pupils as possible whilst rushing to the side of anyone having a severe coughing fit; all stray germs are welcome.

College could have helped me out with a lecture on effective methods of developing an illness in the middle of term.

Friday: My tutor decides I need another visit from her, despite the lasting impression I made on Wednesday. I'm so pleased she decides to choose the last period to visit. Dwayne, Wayne, Sharon and Tracy work so much better after two wet playtimes and a wet dinnertime.

My tutor decides to sit next to Stacey who is busily engaged in some work on forces.

I twitch as I watch Stacey write the answer "my dog" to the question "name an object which requires a pull to start it moving", and cough unconvincingly when she reads "what would you have to do to stop your object moving?" chews her pencil thoughtfully, and then scrawls "tell it to sit".

Andrew Brookes lives in Rotherham.

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