Thank God it's Friday

19th September 1997 at 01:00
Monday: It's beginning to resemble Jurassic Park down this end of the staffroom. We've reserved it for the dinosaurs - the over-50s left behind in the great summer pension rush. Our sentence is another 10 years in, well, Jurassic Park.

But it seems we still can't escape evolution, I muse, facing another pile of obsolete English GCSE syllabuses on my desk. Nothing stays the same anymore; we can't even call them syllabi.

Tuesday: There must be some law that decrees that the older you are, the earlier you arrive on the scene. The Bright Young Things only start tumbling in at 8.40am.They'll learn.

Walking to registration, I catch up with a rather short skirt. I am just about to do my sixth-form tutor's act and make some comment when I realise it's the new girl in the geography department. We'll have to issue labels.

"Still surviving?" I say cheerily. Then I smile - not bad, from a dinosaur.

Wednesday: Looking round the faces at the early-morning staff meeting, I realise we're outnumbered. It's not just the new Filofaxes: it's the optimism. Once again, there's that air of eager anticipation that a new school year can bring. We're all crusaders at heart.

"Aren't 9B a lovely form?"says the young geography girl over coffee. We smile, knowingly. Give it another week or two and that crusade will have become a battle.

Thursday: 9B certainly are being unusually civilised at the moment. Felicity even offered to carry my books to the form room. The lesson produces a discussion on changing fashions.

"Did you ever wear a mini-skirt, Miss?" asks Felicity.

"Oh yes," I say airily. They gaze at me with a new admiration.

"And a crinoline?"

It occurs to me that anyone over 20 is old to them. Which makes me antediluvian.

Friday: My hour has come! A Bright Young Thing comes up to me and, with some embarrassment, asks for my help. She has read, she says, about the SAT grammar test. Exactly what is a subordinate clause?

I think for a while. "Although dinosaurs are very old," I say, my emphasis underlining every word, "they have their uses still."

I shall inscribe that above the staffroom.

Margaret Leeson is still teaching in Kent

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