Thank God It's Friday

7th July 1995 at 01:00
Monday: It's the season when piles of draw tickets compete with each other on the staffroom table. First prize at a village fete is a balloon trip, but there's no interest. Perhaps it's because being taken for a ride by a bag of hot air is a familiar fate that they don't enjoy.

None the less, much of our time is still devoted to prediction and accurate guesswork. Today we struggle to understand Jason's interest in orange pips when writing about his visit to the church. Surely he wasn't eating his mid-morning snack. Then we realise he means organ pipes.

Tuesday: A teacher who likes wildlife brings a tarantula into the staffroom. She assures everyone it's cuddly and lovable but might have known there'd be a rush for the door. She and her pet are left alone with a full-size human skeleton which is due to be returned to the museum. It's propped up reading a lengthy DFE document. Can't imagine what it died of.

The staff return circumspectly at break and I'm invited to taste some "recycled" biscuits, that is, they've been ground into crumbs and mixed with chocolate goo. I'm reminded that the children who made them are also studying decay and this very afternoon have been scrutinising mould and mildew.

Wednesday: Today it's the "wow!" tour - so-called because when next term's intake spend the afternoon with their future teacher I show their parents round telling them what's going to happen, and they're so impressed with my sales talk they all go "wow!"

Some infants are changing after swimming and a tot's upset because he can't find his pants. Miss tells the boys to strip off and, sure enough, one of them is wearing two pairs. Chatting non-stop, he'd picked up any clothing which came to hand. The problem's quickly solved, and the parents murmur "wow!"

Later on a sales rep hits the jackpot when I answer the phone.

"Hi head!" she announces. I'm flabbergasted, but recover enough to say "Yes, I am quite tall."

Thursday: A dad reports his whole family has been in bed "under the doctor", that Rory's been dosed with "cuprinol" and can return to school. I assume that the sawdust between his ears needed treatment. Later on a dinner-lady says it's been a quiet lunch-hour with only four red ant bites and two strangulations. I wonder how she'd have coped with the spider.

Friday: A colleague and I are chatting about a boy who's convalescing after an operation. "I didn't think he was that ill," says the teacher, responding to my suggestion the child should visit Lourdes. "Not a pilgrimage," I reply, "the cricket ground."

We agree the chance to see a Test match would be welcome, and I recall we've all been bitten by something much mightier than red ants or a tarantula - the National Lottery. The staff syndicate is in the draw again tomorrow. So if we win, who will be here for the children on Monday morning?

Luke Darlington is head of St Mary's C of E Primary School, Yate, Bristol

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