Thank God It's Friday

26th May 1995 at 01:00
Monday: I've been worried about discipline lately so I'm trying out a new system aimed at whole classes rather than individuals. On my noticeboard is a large chart showing my timetable; underneath each class is a blank space for their score out of 100. Each class gets marked out of 20 on five discrete criteria: commencement of lesson, attitude to teacher, inter-personal relations, work-related noise and quantity and quality of work. Add them together and you've got a class mark out of 100. Class of the week gets offered a choice of reward. Bottom class is looking at a punishment only Sir has a say about.

To start the day we have Year 9, winners of last week's wooden spoon."You've lost your video this week," I tell them, "it's a worksheet instead." Monday morning inertia rules and they score a solid 74.

Wheel on Year 7 who have the advantage today of being without their resident saboteurs and they notch up an impressive 80.

Tuesday: Starts with last week's winners - Year 8. Given a choice of a free homework night or miniature chocolate bars, their collective sweet tooth wins out. I devote the first 10 minutes to a ritualistic munching, all part of the prize. Again, the score is good apart from a flare-up between James and Daniel for which I deduct four points.

Star turn of the day is another Year 7 class. They seem to have really got the hang of this thing now and work like stink, cocooned in silence. Maybe the smell of Year 8's prize is still in the air, but their 82 has the hallmark of a winning total. Theirs is the day's last lesson and kids I have always thought allergic to the minute which follows the final bell, stay behind to watch the points tally chalked up.

Wednesday: Year 7's keep revisiting my room as the day progresses to look at their potential winning score. But the news is not good. Year 10 produce an astonishingly good performance in the absence of their pair of resident clowns - Barney and Desmond. "I want 200 quality words on our visit to the Bradford Museum before you leave this room," I tell them. Achieving 18 x 200 words with this English group should get them into the top 10 lessons of all time.

Certainly worth 84, despite Andrew's triple toilet visit.

Thursday: My GCSE media studies class has a stab at it but, being last class of the day, suffer serious lesson fatigue 20 minutes before the bell and score a mere seven out of 20 in the work-related noise category. The maturing Year 11's show more interest but net only 72 and mumble about the degrading nature of the entire exercise (while thumping Lewis for wrecking their chances).

Friday: Crunch day, or, if the same reward is chosen next week, Crunchie day.

No one can manage anything in the 80s until Year 8 turn up for the final lesson of the week. But they are as high as the wind outside when they arrive.

They are strictly no chance and look dangerously near to my Year 11's 64 on Wednesday. With 20 minutes to go I point out that they're scoring at 62 and in serious danger of falling from grace. What a move. I am guaranteed 20 minutes of serenity as, with a supreme effort, they notch up four more marks and go home delighted.

My only worry is that Year 10 will want another trip to Bradford as their reward and Barney and Desmond might be back by then.

Alan Coombes is head of English at Pindar High School, Scarborough

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