Thank God it's Friday

31st October 2003 at 00:00
Monday The new phones have been installed. There are big boxes on the wall in my office and three phones in the admin room. No longer will Mandy put her head round the door and say: "Do you want to speak to Carol?" Now she will buzz through efficiently and say: "I've got Mrs Whieldon on the phone for you." This, of course, will happen as soon as we've had our training.

Tuesday A red light is flashing on my smart shiny panel. I put my head round Mandy's door and ask if she's buzzing me. She is. I return to my office and pick up the phone. I say "hello" but have no idea who I'm talking to. We must start the training soon.

Wednesday My phone rings. It's Mandy. "Why are you answering the phone?"

"Because it's ringing." "But I'm not phoning you," she says in a puzzled tone. We chat about the weather, then ring off.

Thursday There's a call for Heather. I walk to the staffroom to see if she's there. I tell her not to move because I'm going to transfer the call.

Five minutes and much button pressing later, I give up and return to the staffroom. I ask Heather to come to the office. As soon as she gets up to follow me, the staffroom phone rings.

Friday I buzz Jim in his classroom. "Let me guess," he says, "you're testing the phone." "Actually Mr Britzman, I'm phoning to see if you are available for a meeting after school today" (and I'm testing the extensions). I call him later, just to irritate him. There's no reply. I put my head round the door and there they all are, doing PE in the hall.

There's no extension in there. Shame.

Val Woollven is head of St Andrews C of E primary school, Plymouth

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