Thank God it's Friday

10th October 2003 at 01:00
Monday I am sometimes struck by the surreal nature of my job; it's never boring, that's for sure. I'm covering a girls' Year 10 English lesson this morning when the students suddenly swarm to the window to see something I won't easily forget - a streaker running by wearing nothing but a tool belt. The girls' grip on Shakespeare diminishes exponentially as we view life in the raw.

Tuesday An assembly on forgiveness. Option one, never forgive; option two, seek reprisals; option three, offer a hand of friendship and move on.

Obvious, really. As I leave I growl at a group of students hanging around in a corner. I later find out they were looking after one of their number who'd tripped on my overhead projector lead. I hope they don't sue.

Wednesday I love canteen duty. It's a chance to get to know the children in their natural habitat while taking refuge in the realisation that, as an adult, I don't have to eat what they do. Today is a windy day, a recipe for more "challenging behaviour". Even the head of year looks ready to take me on.

Thursday A group of students takes a unilateral decision to go on a peace protest. We see them on the six o'clock news saying they were just putting into action the ethical awareness they had been exposed to as students in our school.

Friday We interview for an English teacher. It's a chance to ask penetrating questions such as: "How will you afford to live down here." I love reading the CVs, peppered with worthy comments about "vision" and "philosophy"; one candidate worked for Bamp;Q before turning to teaching.

Maybe he sold the streaker that tool belt.

Benedict Lee is a deputy head in a Catholic comprehensive school in the south-east. He writes under a pseudonym

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