To lose one student may be considered a misfortune, but to lose an entire class is just plain carelessness…

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what I did this morning. Monday lesson one, my timetable says I am in the conservatory with Professor Plum and the lead piping in the computer room with a very nice Y8 class. The time arrived to start the lesson, but the number of students in my classroom was zero. I had a quick look outside in the corridor, I can usually gather up a few waifs and strays who are chatting with friends from other classes. Not this time, I found zero students from my class on the corridor.

I started to smell a large rodent. This class is prone to playing tricks on me. I had a quick look around in another corridor, bracing myself, expecting 24 students to jump out. No students jumped out. I looked in the hall, the other computer rooms and neighbouring classrooms. Still no one from my class. I went back to my classroom and checked my calendar, expecting to see a long forgotten school trip or event scheduled for Y8. My calendar for today was a vista of nothingness. No excuses for having mislaid a whole class of children.

Finally I headed to the school office, shuffled in an embarrassed manner and admitted I had lost my entire class. That was the point when our lovely receptionist spoke to me in that calm manner, using the sort of tone that is reserved for explaining the bleeding obvious to those suffering from dementia or stupidity. “It’s a form period, they are in their form room, with their form teacher.”

Ah, right. I think I should have known that. After all, every single other member of staff seemed to have known. Of course, if my own form were in school instead of on work experience, I’m sure that the presence of 30 kids in the classroom would have alerted me to the form period thing, as it was I just had to do the embarrassed shuffle out of the office, hoping no one else had heard. (Everyone had.)

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