Thank God it's Friday

12th May 2000 at 01:00
Monday Steven, a slight, fair-haired 11-year-old, caught a 10lb pike over the weekend. I am shown a photo. Steven, crouching and holding the sag-bellied monster, looks more like the bait. Miranda was a bridesmaid on Saturday. At her mum's wedding. Miranda was bridesmaid at her mum's last wedding too. Jo has a new kitten called Enid Starflower.

As for me, I shaved my beard off and I am told in the staffroom that I look much younger. They said this when I came back after the holidays with the beard. So I am thinking of growing it and shaving it off and growing it and shaving it off, thereby becoming progressively younger.

Tuesday I go through the Year 8 exercise books. Sophie writes that she is lucky to have a non-sweet bedroom. Tom says that he once went on a geography feeled trip. And Tristan's story contains a character who, he says daringly, appeared to be a trans tight vest.

Wednesday There are two Buddhist monks in assembly. One tells the children three things Buddhists do: they pay no attention to the past and live only in the now, they try to keep their mind quite empty, and if they encounter harshness - such as someone speaking sharply to them - they let it pass through them. make a mental note to tell my tutor group they're all Buddhists.

Thursday At the pastoral committee meeting we discuss smokers. Smokers outside the back gate. Smokers in the local alleys. Smokers in the girls' toilets. Draconian punishments are mooted. I suggest we're getting things out of proportion but Brian, head of art, complains about the "endless pilgrimage of girls traipsing through my studio" to the loo. A constant stream. And no one ever comes out. What is it about girls and the toilet? Is it some doorway to another dimension? Gateway to Marlboro country?

Friday News from my tutor group of the coming weekend. Steven is going fishing. He has a secret maggot bait recipe. Talking of maggots, Alex is going shooting with his uncle. Two weeks ago they shot a fox and his uncle let it hang upside down in the pheasant pen. Maggots fell out and supplemented the pheasants' feed. Jo is taking Enid Starflower to be spayed. "It'll make her safer and more fun," puts in Derek. I ask him what does he mean? "That's what my mum says about my dad." Derek explains. "She says since he's been spayed he's safer and more fun."

Rowland Molony teaches at Sidmouth college,Sidmouth, Devon .

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