Thanks God It's Friday

5th July 1996 at 01:00
Monday: It seemed a good idea at the time but as I sit in early morning traffic, I wonder what possessed me to agree to a student tutorial so early on a Monday. I rush into college with two minutes to spare.

Twenty minutes later there's a knock at the door and I try to feel charitable about the student, who actually lives on the campus.

It's quite a long walk to the other campus where I am lecturing mid-morning - past the big house, across the lawns and round the lake. It's fine and sunny and not even lecturing on "senescence" (the aging process) brings me down.

Students hang around afterwards to discuss their human development essays. I try to be patient but I'm due at a meeting 30 miles away within the next hour. I supervise a young skater who is being educated at home so she can fit in her training; her GCSE courses for September need sorting out.

Tuesday: I am lecturing on "death and dying" later today which feels too soon after yesterday's senescence for comfort. The summer term of human development is always a bit of a killer - covering as it does retirement, old age, dementia and death. Shades of things to come.

In the afternoon I go to the boys' grammar where I have supported a disabled young man since his transfer at 11. I can't believe he will be in Year 11 next year.

Wednesday: This is my morning in a boys' secondary school. I accepted a 0.2 post, supporting a youngster with attention deficit disorder. I like to think that sitting in other people's classrooms gives me real and relevant experience.

I never cease to admire the teachers who survive in this environment five days a week. It's true - the grass is greener on the other side.

Thursday: I go to an English class at the boys' grammar where, in a weak moment, I say I will tell a story as their teacher is trying to teach listening as well as speaking skills. My story of an incident in Africa 20 years ago goes down wellIone boy asks me if Africa had just been discovered!

Friday: I am a textbook case of senescence. Yes, it is that lecture again but it's totally different from Monday and Tuesday. This group comprises mainly mature students so I use all their experiences and relate them to the conflicting lifespan theories we have studied this year.

We wonder how anyone manages to become a successful adult without studying human development. They leave and it is back round the lake, across the lawns and past the big house to the library to stock up with books.

The weekend lies ahead with next week's lectures to prepare. Thank God for my early retirement!

Jane Lovey is now a visiting lecturer and consultant on special needs.

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