Thank God it's Friday

16th March 2001 at 00:00
MONDAY I have a new role as "behaviour support outreach" and have to give my first in-service training to staff on Friday. I am dreading it but tell myself it can't be any worse than a classroom full of unruly children. I wake up in a sweat after an awful dream in which the special needs co-ordinator asks if I can give the staff an hour's talk on disinfectant. I rack my brains in an attempt to muster some useful data but draw a blank. Just as my panic reaches a crescendo, the Senco looks confused. "Hang on a minute," she says. "It wasn't disinfectant, it was disaffection."

TUESDAY I'm not sure how to begin. I try to judge how far the staff will find everything useful. I put together some materials and rehearse it in front of my teenage children. They are highly critical and give me tips on how to sound more convincing. Tomorrow they promise to bring out the camcorder.

WEDNESDAY The video reveals that I neither sound nor look dynamic. I make attempts at dynamsm in front of the mirror and remember some anecdotes to lighten the mood. There was the head of year who was approached by one of his burlier Year 11 students in the playground: "Sir, what would you do if I hit you?" "Fall over, I suppose," was his reply. It is beginning to hang together.

THURSDAY I have a crisis of confidence and imagine I will turn to jelly. I think of a way to incorporate this and try my hand at acting. I feel the part but am still stuck for a good beginning.

FRIDAY I look around the room at the faces. Some look interested; some look as though they don't want to be there. I feel sick. Suddenly I don't want to be there either. There is an adrenalin rush; it's fight or flight. I ignore the symptoms and launch into my delivery. "I'd like to start by telling you about this really strange dream I had last night..." Rebecca Porter teaches in an on-site support unit for EBD pupils in the south of England. She writes under a pseudonym

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