Thank God it's Friday

28th April 2006 at 01:00
Monday It's Chinese new year and, as the learning support assistant, I'm responsible for the multicultural board in the main reception. I've brought in some paper lantern lights but suddenly remember how paranoid everyone is about health and safety. I hesitate but stick them up anyway. The board looks good. My numeracy set are next. They are the group who remind me why I am not a teacher. I love them all, but special educational needs, behaviour and concentration problems are ever present. I only have eight children but they are high maintenance and I lose sleep over whether I am doing enough for them.

Tuesday My friend's mum died at the weekend and the funeral is on Thursday.

All that fills my head is that I have numeracy first on Thursday; it's an hour-long session and if I am not there the children have to be absorbed into the main class. That's the theory; in practice they sit mesmerised and unable to cope. Now I have a guilt trip.

Wednesday Today I am attached to a Year 5 trip to the Science Museum. We are leaving at 8.30am and won't return until after 4.30pm. I also have an "options evening" for my own Year 9 daughter. It's going to be a long day.

I am not familiar with the kids in Year 5 and hope I don't lose one of my group. However, the teacher in charge has meticulously planned the trip and we all have itineraries, lists of children and sick bags to the ready. Just 15 minutes in and the first multicoloured burp takes place two seats behind me. I am not sure how but I become "minder of the vomit bag". In the museum reception I notice that the other school present - more than 50 pupils - are in the same red jumpers as ours. I quickly try to memorise my kids'

faces.

Thursday I don't go to the funeral. It's in Birmingham at 9am. I know I'd never make it. I'm on duty. It's freezing, but I see many children dropped off without coats who then shiver into the playground. I wonder how many have had breakfast. It's a fixation of mine (ask my own kids). I almost believe that a good breakfast cures all ills.

Friday Mufti day and I'm amazed at how unrecognisable the children suddenly become. We have several girlie off-the-shoulder numbers - that's Year 3 - and I am blinded by "bling" as I pass through the library where I find Year 6. A bandana is confiscated, but Eminem really has a lot to answer for.

Marian Colyer is a learning support assistant in Aylesbury, Bucks. She wrote this diary earlier this year. If you have a diary to share (no more than 450 words), write to TES Friday or email friday@tes.co.uk. We pay for every article we publish

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