Thank God it's Friday

25th February 2005 at 00:00
Monday. Prehistoric school boiler is broken. Hurrah! School closed to children but head still expects us to work and just wear more layers. We mount a revolt, stating violation of human rights and "after all we've done for you" and are allowed to go home. All staff spend the remainder of the day in local pub praying that boiler is broken indefinitely.

Tuesday. Boiler fixed. Temperature in school now equivalent to Mojave desert. Those of us expecting bitter chills and decked out in heavy woollen wear have now almost expired. The children look like lethargic wasps, barely able to hold their pencils. We provide them with juice, fruit and Haribo jellies. By mid-afternoon they are full of beans and my idea to do art in the vain hope of making the day end smoothly results in my classroom looking like a Jackson Pollock painting.

Wednesday. Temperature is normal again, though all staff are wearing similar outfits consisting of massive coat, cardigan or jumper and T-shirt concoctions. It is akin to working in the tropics but without the jungle. I have become slightly addicted to blackcurrant isotonic drinks in order to rehydrate and cool down and am now a little jittery. This makes for interesting end-of-day dance lesson.

Thursday. School visited by a drama company who put on a recycling show with a difference. Trouble is, my class have seen all these "with a difference" shows and know all the answers, predict all the questions and join in with all the dialogue and songs. The actors look really annoyed. I look apologetic. My class look dead smug. The head is so proud that she has such knowledgeable and environmentally friendly children that she lets them out to play early. Several hundred under-11s proceed to drop their snack wrappers in the garden.

Friday. Boiler broken again. This time staff are phoned at home, not early enough to answer the call from bed, but at the point where one is walking out the door. I lie down in the hallway in my coat and go back to sleep.

Robin Warren teaches at a north London primary school

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