Thank God it's Friday

25th August 2006 at 01:00
Monday My last week in teaching marks the end of the first year of our improvement partnership with the very successful school perched atop the only hill in the city.

As the only surviving member of the old senior management team (SMT), I act as intermediary between the diehards and the new, sharp-suited advanced skills teachers. By Friday, a third of the original staff will have left, some through redundancy. Emotions are high, fuses are short and the heat saps our energy. The builders, refurbishing the science labs, cause a flood in the staffroom below. We move to the drama studio for the rest of the week.

TUESDAY I pin up the cover list next to the whiteboard showing a familiar cover lesson left by Nigel - on interview again and desperately seeking a new post. "Produce a piece of drama involving a painting, a candlestick and a suitcase." Preparation for sports day has been difficult. The new SMT wants broader participation, a fun day with a hog roast and a tent for VIPs and governors. John, head of PE and senior member of the old brigade, wants the tried and tested format. We compromise, keeping the same blueprint with some changes.

WEDNESDAY Sports day dawns. "It's about the kids, not bloody corporate events," mutters John. Our caretakers disappear under a sea of canvas, poles and guy ropes as the borrowed marquee collapses for the second time.

Mr Smith, appointed this year from "the hill", is our announcer. He hardly needs a loudspeaker. His strident instruction for spectators to "sit!" has local dogs rooted to the spot as if at the command of some great master in the sky. I hope the south side of the city enjoy the commentary. Our executive headteacher visits and is delighted with the organisation and the response from the pupils. Even John seems mellow at the end of the day, sampling the hog roast and Buck's Fizz.

THURSDAY Rumblings and dissent bubble beneath the surface. Some staff may boycott the send-off for leavers on the last day. I pin up the cover list.

The lesson plan is still there, but "drama" has been changed to "comedy"

and the three items replaced with "SMT", "organisation" and "brewery". Oh dear.

I stay late and clear my office. The heat is unbearable and my clothes stick to me. I change into T-shirt and shorts, feeling strange without my corporate suit and name badge.

FRIDAY By lunchtime, we escort our pupils calmly from the premises - part of our new, collective approach. A far cry from the eggs, flour and fire alarms that have marked this occasion in previous years.

To the drama studio for farewells and presentations. There are some tears but general good humour and dignity in the speeches. We shake hands and offer hugs and best wishes. I give out my business cards. I feel pushy doing it, but after August 31 my teacher's salary will finish and I will be on my own. A scary thought.

Mike Jenkins has resigned from teaching after 27 years, for a new career as a life coach. He writes under a pseudonym

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