Thank God it's Friday

28th October 2005 at 01:00
Monday I love my job, but I still hate Mondays. To brighten this one I take Donna the hedgehog to school. In my car, as an expression of quite reasonable outrage, she delivers a huge poo. I plan a lesson on identifying animal droppings. Each lesson is based on Donna. I tell them that she is recovering from an injury. I encourage kindness, empathy even. "Why did the hedgehog cross the road?" says Andrew. "To see his flat mate!"

Tuesday Driving to school, I spot a dead woodcock by the side of the road.

It's freshly killed but undamaged. I ignore the bus queue staring at me and put it in my car, planning to give it to the head of science. Mr Brown is not in his room so I leave it in a box on his desk. Later he rushes into the staffroom. "You'll never believe what I've found on my desk!" he cries, white-faced. "It's a woodcock," I say. "You? My God, it's horrible, like something out of The Godfather."

He begs me to take it away. I show my classes the beauty of the wings. Word gets around that Mrs Crowley has a bird in her room. "Is it dead?" asks Andrew.

Wednesday During yard duty, Brian and Mark show me an injured wood pigeon.

An accident has caused its upper beak to pierce its bottom beak and it is now rammed shut. Someone fetches Mr Brown. I ask him to try to pull the upper beak out while I hold the bird. He gives me a persecuted look. His pliers look too big. Children watch. We give up before we start, put the bird in a box and take it to a local vet.

Thursday Today is our farm visit. We collect the eggs from the poultry boxes and feed the pigs. In the stable is a sow and her 11 piglets. We are told that she has already crushed one baby to death. The class is quiet on the way home. "I'm going to have Chinese tonight," says Mark to cheer himself up. "Sweet and sour pork."

Friday We have won a prize for our garden. In assembly I talk about the creatures that live there and show the children a worm and a slug. The huge slug tries to escape. I notice the headteacher is also edging away. He looks horrified. Why didn't someone tell me he has a phobia?

Gina Crowley teaches at a special school in Gateshead. If you have a diary to share (no more than 450 words), write to TES Friday, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or email We pay for every article we publish

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