Thank God it's Friday

19th March 1999 at 00:00
Monday They call it Stormy MondayIdriving into school, finishing the first cigarette of the day, and I've got those mixed-up genre, shared reading, jive-talking blues sinking down to my sensible teaching shoes.

My stress level rises higher as the computer - which worked perfectly at dinnertime - whirs, clicks and jams the disk at 1pm. My sure-fire success maths investigation is met with a sea of blank Year 5 faces, and will the Greeks group ever work independently?

These little things mean a lot, and by 5.30pm I'm driving home howling at the moon with a boxful of marking, dreaming wistfully of a crateful of Bourbon and a barful of wanton men.

Tuesday Tossing and turning all night, I wake up in a cold sweat. I dreamed that the Government replaced teachers with class sets of PCs - no wonder they're pushing information technology, sorry, information communications technology these days. Teachers show the children how to access the Net, then, bingo, we're kicked out of the job like a faithful but terminally ill old dog as cyber education takes over.

Wednesday "Good Morning, Heartache", Billie Holliday sang. She must have been a teacher in a previous life, especially one still trying to get to grips with temperamental computers. ("It just flashed and went off... honest.") The Greeks group claim I didn't tell them to start work and so sit doing nothing during independent literacy activities.

Thursday Today I got those bad teacher blues... Bad teachers, the ones the Government keeps pulling out the bag every now and then as the raison d'etre for all these new reforms. Like the bogey man or the shark lurking in the water in "Jaws". Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy teaching and relax in the classroom - pow, look behind you! Paranoia rules. The Greek group still don't fully understand paragraphs. I nervously watch the door for men in suits to carry me away and replace me with a fast-track whizz kid.

Friday Another week over, but no sigh of relief, just a dull ache deep inside at the thought of a lonely weekend of planning, marking, writing plans, researching, writing plans, assessments, writing plans, trying to keep up to date with educational trends, writing plans and last, but not least, spending quality time with my two children.

I used to look forward to Fridays, tired but happy. Only now, in the words of B B King, "the thrill has gone".

Rita Pike teaches in Liverpool

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