Thank God it's summer

25th August 2000 at 01:00
Continuing our peek at a London teacher's diary of last term


A sign of the times today revealed during a break time conversation. There is the perennial problem of our pupils being assaulted on the journey to and from school. Two members of staff saw an assault this morning but like all staff they are under instructions that they cannot intervene for fear that an assault charge will be brought against them.

They followed the two assailants while ringing the police (on the borrowed mobile of a member of Year 7). They arrived speedily and made the arrests in the back garden of a house about a quarter of a mile from the school. The arresting officer confided to my colleague that it was barely worth the time arresting them. One of the two boys had already been arrested 13 times this year and would no doubt be out on the streets the next day committing similar offences. My only thought was pleasure at the fact that I do not have to teach them.


A fanatical football fan colleague confides to me that he has visited all 92 Premiership and Football League grounds as well as all of those in the Conference. His ambition now is to visit all Scottish League grounds although he concedes that he will have to save most of this efforts for the long holidays. I reflect on whether obsessive unbalanced personalities are drawn to teaching or teaching makes them that way. I notice that a well-known public school is advertising for a head of shooting. I find it difficult to imagine what the responsibilities are.


A theatre troupe is in school today performing for Year 10. Their theme, which they warm to quickly, is AidsHIV and its consequences. It is all X-rated stuff but no one seems to turn a hair except me. Year 10, worldly beyond their years, seem to be familiar with the issues. I wince at the advice onhow to have safe anal intercourse. Interestingly, three parents have exercised their right to withdraw on the grounds that older siblings saw it last year and once in the family was enough.


Back to the familiar topic of filling in the threshold application form that is beginning to vex many staff.

The head confides to me that under the section "professional characteristics" he regards wearing a shirt, tie and jacket to be the most important. I scrutinise the DfEE guidance for further enlightenment but can find no reference. He does not refer to female staff attire but I assume it is along the lines of a crimplene two-piece and slingbacks.


A serious matter has arisen. The annual sixth-form dinner dance took place last night. This gruesome affair usually ends when the manager of whatever establishment has been foolish enough to hire its premises complains that the handbasins in the gents are blocked with vomit.

It is clear, however, that a young male maths teacher and a female member of the upper sixth were behaving "inappropriately" (a word that the head is very fond of). I am pleased to say that I witnessed nothing as I was standing outside guarding the unconscious form of the head boy waiting for his parents to arrive and scrape him off the pavement into the back of their Isuzu Trooper.

The female deputy head has taken over the matter and is about to interview the aforesaid teacher. She is a dead ringer for Miss Jones in Rising Damp, give her 20 years.

I am reminded of the old Please Sir joke.

Miss Jones: Do you suffer from powerful sexual urges?

Mr Smith: No, as a matter of fact I rather enjoy them.

The head assures me that he is confident that "penetration did not take place".

It will all blow over.

the author teaches in a north London comprehensive

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