Thank God it's Friday

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
MONDAY We're "doing" drugs in personal and social education with the first years. We all agree that we don't take them because frankly we're too frightened of our dads.

I advise a pupil whose boyfriend is a power freak to read "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus".

I set the task "a short video presentation on one of the medieval elements - air, earth, fire or water" in this afternoon's media studies with senior pupils.

TUESDAY I start the day with guidance interviews for first years, asking them about hobbies and achievements. They tell me about family breakdown, chronic illness and depression. Media studies pupils admit responsibility for the rash of small fires in the playground. They say they want to capture the moment of ignition.

WEDNESDAY The head of art complains of narrowly missing death by water melon. Media studies pupils again admit responsibility. By hurling water melons down the stairwell, they hope to capture the moment of disintegration.

I have an interesting debate with a fourth-year pupil writing up his national record of achievement. Question: "Do 24 'lates' and 13 detentions constitute an achievement?" (Answer: "No - and it isn't even a school record.") First-year parents' evening, and an ugly row breaks out between two parents and their son over smoking. He wants them to stop.

THURSDAY It's sex education with the third year today. One pupil claims to have a dog that was a boy and a girl. The dog, thanks to the wonders of veterinary science, is now neither.

There's a complaint about puddles on the art corridor floor. Interestingly, they spell out the word "water". Media studies pupils admit responsibility.

FRIDAY Interviews with second year about subject choice in third year. We agree that, yes, Spanish would be more useful than French if your parents have a timeshare in Magaluf, Majorca, and, no, you don't need to be good at cooking to do economics.

There's a complaint from the head of music; he's found media studies pupils videoing in the men's toilet. When he asked them what they would do if a member of staff wished to relieve himself, they replied they would switch the camera off.

Tina Stockman is principal teacher of guidance at Harlaw Academy, Aberdeen. She wrote this diary two weeks before going on secondment as development officer for guidance personal and social education for Aberdeen City Council

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