Thank God it's Friday

30th June 2000 at 01:00
Monday It's tutor period first and I check each child's school diary. It has "Study Planner" on the cover but I notice how this is altered to "Stodgy Bladder". Several also contain information crucial to the young teenager - which chippie does the best deep-fried Mars Bars, best friend's birthday, and the current love of the life.

Tuesday The caretaker informs me that he was woken at 3am by the school's burglar alarm. One of the monitors in the art studio registered movements in the room. This turns out to be a vase of pampas grass waving in the warm currents of air generated by the kiln which was set for an all-night firing.

Wednesday Confusion with my sixth-form group. They tell me about a past pupil, Joe, who has a job in the city. Apparently it is in a shoe shop with the trendy name Biggy Shoe. I ask further about the shop but get odd looks. This is cleared up when they tell me that actually Joe is selling the Big Issue.

But I am not the only one for whom language doesn't immediately click. Mia's piece about pets contains lots of iformation about her sticking sect and Peter, in a talk to the class, tells us about a New Zealand All Black currently playing for an English club whose name is .... Joanna Lumley.

Thursday I teach five classes today - 151 children. I keep order, introduce new ideas, set homework. According to Ofsted, there are some lazy teachers. How can one keep on doing the job and be lazy?

Friday Sex with Year 10. It arises from a discussion of Frank O'Connor's story in which little Larry Delaney learns the facts of life from his mother...mummies had an engine in their tummies and daddies had a starting-handle that made it work, and once it started it went on until it made a baby. This leads to some sharing of early notions about sex. "Mummy and Daddy have a special cuddle," says Charlotte, "and then nine months later they have a baby." Wanda has a better story: "I walked straight in on my Mum and Dad when I was little. I said 'What are you doing?' and they said 'We're playing bunk beds'."

Rowland Molony teaches at Sidmouth college, Devon


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