Thank God it's Friday;Diary

10th September 1999 at 01:00
MONDAY It's the early hours and Mum's parting words from the previous evening's obligatory phone call still ring in my head: "Don't worry, you break up in three days." Yeah, right. The targets on my "Things to Do Before the Holiday" list look about as smart as Gazza after a night out with Chris Evans, my newborn daughter Nancy has decided that she will sleep only if cradled on a shoulder to the jazz guitar of Martin Taylor and my two-day interview for the deputy headship is 24 hours away.

TUESDAY The day goes well. I enjoy the professional discussions about teaching. The debate is, perversely, a joy. Just before driving home, I notice a patch of milky deposit roughly the shape of Italy on my jacket shoulder. By 10pm Nancy is asleep, and I attempt to produce a report on my school's performance data for a presentation the following day. Who said teachers don't know how to have a good time? By midnight the numbers of students achieving levels 6-plus over the past three years dance before my eyes.

WEDNESDAY I call into school on the way to my final interview. My desk looks like the school exams office in mid-June, my answer machine has run out of available tape and my pigeon hole is stuffed full with memos which all seem to begin "I know this is a difficult time but..." Colleagues are doing the shopping for today's end-of-year party. I set off for The Second Day. The phone call comes six hours later. I haven't got the job.

THURSDAY The first task of the holiday is to go back to school. I manage to create some kind of order out of the chaos and perform the therapeutic and somewhat cathartic act which only teachers can appreciate: I have made a list of "Things to be Done During the Holiday".

I try to remain philosophical about my rejection: I came second to a very able candidate and have no issue with the professional manner with which the decision was made. But my frustration is very real: six lessons covered by colleagues at the worst possible time of year; two days absence when students might have been seeking advice before the summer break; three nights of childcare abdicated to a supportive yet exhausted partner - all for nothing.

FRIDAY After another morning in school, I pick up my young boy and set off to buy our tickets for the weekend's Womad music festival. Gamelan music already fills the air and hundreds of strangers in regulation festival dress smile at us. It is the weekend. It is the holiday. Suddenly, the appropriate key stage 4 curriculum for a school miles away in Hampshire doesn't seem all that important. Sod the job, I didn't like the view from the deputy head's office window anyway.

Rick Holroyd is a senior teacher in West Berkshire

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