So I’m sat in my room this morning doing a bit of admin and this Y7 who I don’t recognise knocks on the door.

Good morning. How can I help you?

I have my book. He stands in the doorway the way that Y7s stand in doorways when they’re trying to talk to you but aren’t sure of the protocol. He holds out his book. I don’t have my glasses on but I could swear that I don’t know him. However, at this moment I decide to hedge my bets.

Oh … Right. Okay, um, why do you have your book?

I finished the essay. I did some more at home.

Oh, well done! I’m really pretty sure that I don’t teach him. So, err, did you want to hand it in?

Miss Cape said to give it to you.

I really don’t think I’ve ever seen him before. And I really don’t think Miss Cape did say that.

She said to give it to me, Mr French?

Yes. Because you have the other books. You have the pile. Can I put it on the pile?

I don’t have the pile. I don’t know what pile he’s on about. But at this point I’m doubting myself. Maybe I do teach him? Bugger, what if I do? I’d best look at his book. Yep, my name isn’t on the front. Miss Cape’s is, but mine isn’t. And I don’t share a class with Miss Cape.

Well let’s have a look at your essay. Oh, this is really good! Did Miss Cape want me to see it because it’s so good?

She said you have the books and I should put it on the pile.

Right, I definitely don’t teach him. But does he think I do?

Do you mean the homework booklets? Do you need one? I have lots of homework booklets. I expect he means them. I understand now.

No. I’ve done my homework.

Oh right. Of course you have! Sorry, it’s just … Fingers crossed … The thing is, I don’t teach you, do I? So I’m not sure what Miss Cape was on about! Let’s blame it on Miss Cape, for his sake. I know this isn’t Miss Cape’s fault. But let’s allow him to save face, the poor thing.

I think you should take your book back to Miss because I reckon she’s made a mistake.

But she said to give it to you. I’m feeling pretty sorry for him now. He hasn’t a clue why I won’t take his book, and I don’t know why I’d want it, let alone have a clue who he is.

I know, but sometimes teachers make mistakes. Take it back to Miss and ask her exactly what she meant. 

So off he goes.

Five minutes later he’s outside the office. Again, he tries to hand me his book. 

Are you sure that’s what Miss Cape asked?

She said that you have the pile of books in your room. 

But we’ve established that I don’t. 

Hang on.

Do you mean Mr Powell?


Okay, but that isn’t me. And you’ve never had a history lesson in my room. You need to go to Mr Powell’s room, where you have history with him.

But that’s your room.

Hmm. But I’m Mr French.

But I need to give this to Mr Powell.

I’m beginning to lose patience now. 

So, why are you trying to give it to me?

To go on your pile for our class.

But I don’t teach you. You have Miss Cape and Mr Powell. You’ve got me confused with Mr Powell. Who teaches you. We both shaved our beards off over Christmas but that’s about the only similarity. Also, just to make clear, he has never been taught by me and doesn’t have history lessons in my room.

I haven’t.

You see through that door? That’s Mr Powell. I’m Mr French. I don’t have your pile. I don’t teach you. Give you book to Mr Powell.

But Miss said to give it to you.

No. No, she really didn’t. 

Yes, she said to give it to Mr Powell.

But I am not Mr Powell. 

So who do I give it to?

Mr Powell. He’s in there.

And with that, his face a portrait of confusion, he turns and again holds out his book to me.