Thank God it's Friday

Monday I teach in a "mobile" hut. Why it's called a mobile beats me. It's on jacks and hasn't been anywhere in 20 years. It's on the edge of the school grounds, and this is a fine time to teach in a mobile that's parked bang up against nature. A thick hedge blocks the light on one side, oak trees lean in close. Thrushes and blackbirds chortle in the ivy, and squirrels play join-up-tails on a branch outside the window. How can I teach with all that life going on out there?

Tuesday I am signing study planners. Some students are experimenting with the curriculum - fizzix, jograffy. kemmystree, Inglich litratchure and come you nitty studies. The weekly notes page is also interesting. Lila tells me her family now has a room at home for the computer. "We keep a seedy Ron in there," she adds darkly.

And Ben has found a new pastime since I told him he needed to get out more. He writes: "Nowadays I like to pop bubblewrap." A sixth-former drops in with a sheaf of essays to be marked. Mark Twain comes to mind: "Thank you for sending me your book, which I shall waste no time in reading."

Wednesday We are emailing Michigan, class to class. After the kids have sent their messages, I add an extra snippet to their teacher. "Hi Harv, just to say we're kicking big technological butt at this end right now. We're parallel processing - and using soft fonts with the interactive data, we'll be outputting our coding to hard copy, interfacing at control modules. Have a nice day." Well, you've got to humour them, haven't you?

Thursday Our school is near the sea. There are many seagulls overhead. We've learned to live with the crapped-on factor, but starting a lesson with gull-squit on your tie does little for your image. The regular gull on the roof is called William, after Captain Kirk (William Shatner, if you didn't know).

Friday I'm reading Dickens's greatest novel with Year 10. But they haven't quite got the title fixed in their little computer-obsessed heads. Today I was asked: "Sir, are we going to be reading Great Explaystations?"

Rowland Molony teaches English at Sidmouth college, Devon

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