Thank God It's Friday

16th July 2004 at 01:00
One week until curtain up and Jesus has gone down with chickenpox

Monday Only one week left before the drama club production, and disaster strikes: Jesus has gone down with chickenpox. Not only is our main character out of action for the foreseeable future, but how many others in his Year 34 class have been infected? We opt for some quick reshuffling: Mary Magdalene will read Jesus's part and one of the temple money traders will practise Mary M's part.

Tuesday I try to manage end-of-term assessments while sorting out children to try on costumes. Another child has gone home with a rash and upset stomach. Jessica arrives back in school after being poorly for a few days to find out that we've had to give her part to another child. After much diplomatic negotiating, we arrange for them to "share" the part.

Wednesday I have a local authority numeracy adviser with me every Wednesday. I ask her to explain long division to my class of Year 4 and 5 children while I nip down to the hall with the deputy head and the "sound and light engineers". We spend 30 minutes colour-coding everything in sight and head back to the classroom only to find the "challenging behaviour" children leading the adviser a merry dance. She heads back to the LEA office looking relieved.

Thursday The literacy adviser is with me today. The class are on a warning: if they misbehave, there'll be no playtime. Things run smoothly, apart from costume changes every 10 minutes and a student classroom assistant who waltzes in with a bird's nest just as we have arranged a "freeze frame" of characters. The freeze soon melts.

Friday Jesus has recovered from his chickenpox and we have a full dress rehearsal this afternoon. Only one apostle is missing, but he has a dentist's appointment. It takes 45 minutes to get the cast dressed and in order. We start off promptly but find that it's home time and we still have two scenes to go. Never mind. The first performance is Monday afternoon; we'll just have to try to squeeze in a practice in the morning, and pray for a miracle.

Elaine Richardson Elaine Richardson teaches at St Augustine's RC primary school, Runcorn, Cheshire

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