Thank God it's Friday

19th August 2005 at 01:00
Friday At briefing I make my final reminder to tutors that the sports day entry forms must be completed today. As usual, Trevor asks for a replacement copy. At the end of the day I scoop up the forms from my pigeonhole, along with my normal weekend homework, confident that I can complete the programme during the weekend. The races are not what you might see at a more traditional sports day. A "three-legged race" where the tied-up leg has to be kept in the air and the competitors hop down the course demands co-operation - something often lacking in our pupils. And with so many looked-after children, we have to leave out the parent race, too.

Sunday I make a dash for the computer between Coronation Street and The Last Detective. Unfortunately my wife is finishing her governor's report so I'm relegated to the laptop, but at least I can watch The Last Detective. I check through the entry forms only to realise that I don't have one from Jan's group. Should I use my normal, non-confrontational "no form, no taking part" approach or dot the programme with text form fields, ready to click in her children on Monday? I opt for the latter and save the programme on a disk.

Monday Jan's off sick. I abandon my lesson with her group to talk about sports day entries. There is much argument about who had entered for what when Jan completed the form last week. Compromises are reached and Josh is deputed to go to the English room and complete the programme for me.

Tuesday I check the equipment store at lunchtime, thus avoiding the builders. Marker posts and bases are thick with cement dust. Sacks (for sack race) are not there. Brog, the head brickie, returns and tells me the sacks were put in the skip when the building work started. At the end of the day I raid the local charity shop. Woolly hats and mittens are thin on the ground at this time of year but I find enough for a dressing-up relay - the sack race substitute. At home I check the 100 programmes that Mandy has printed. Not only has Josh misspelled some names but he's replaced his own with "God".

Wednesday I arrive with the reworked programmes and ask Mandy to print another 100. At assembly I tell Josh that he has the key job of recording the winners at sports day. He looks pleased, not realising that this is the worst job, because there are always lengthy disputes and whatever he does will be criticised. I wander over to the field only to find that the lines haven't been marked. I buy some emulsion, four brushes and four pots at our local DIY megastore. The first race will be the line marking relay! I go round to the back of the building where it's quiet and do a weather dance to stave off rain and any further disasters.

David Watson works with excluded students in south east England

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