Thank God it's Friday

6th January 2006 at 00:00
Monday The sales start early in the United States. Very early. I'm not sure I fully grasp the true meaning of Thanksgiving, but it appears to be a time when retailers give thanks that, after a day of close confinement with relatives, with only turkey and pumpkin pie for sustenance, many Americans react by fleeing to the malls for the 5am sales that kick-start the Christmas shopping season.

The teaching day goes smoothly, as does the maths department meeting where we discuss graphing calculators and curriculum reform while eating shortbread baked by June, a fellow Cambridge graduate who has been teaching here since the Sixties.

Tuesday As I record attendance at morning homeroom, my pupils exercise their rights as Southern Californians to complain of the "freezing" weather - although it is not as if brass monkeys are in any sort of peril. It's 10C. After school I hurry to a sexual harassment seminar. All employees are required to attend by California law, presumably to ensure we all attain the standards set by Governor Schwarzenegger in this field.

Wednesday Next week the ninth grade celebrates the feast day of St Nicholas. As I peruse some background material, I recall the time when I lived in Turkey and went on a trip with my wife and daughter to see the tomb of St Nicholas. Hannah was almost four. "What's that?" she asked, pointing to the tomb. We managed to protect her from the trauma that would have ensued had she realised it was an old box that had contained the body of Santa Claus until grave robbers broke it open and stole his bones.

Thursday My first class this morning has a test on simultaneous equations that I carefully crafted last night. I must have been very tired; as I stroll to the photocopier I notice several errors, so I go back to my computer. After a mad dash, I give the students an error-free test.

Unfortunately they do not fully reciprocate.

Friday I go with Mary and Hannah to San Diego's magnificent Balboa Park, which tonight hosts "December Nights". The name was changed a few years ago to eliminate the word Christmas, but a Christmas festival by any other name is almost as sweet and Hannah meets Santa without having to ponder the mystery of his resurrection.

David Maycock is head of maths at an independent school in La Jolla, California. 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 friday@ We pay for every article we publish

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