I am a student teacher and just completed my second placement at a boys secondary school. I'm wondering what is the best strategy for dealing with a hypochondriac pupil. At this school I had one pupil who complained every single lesson and asked for permission to go to the medical room. His aches and pains were always invisible (i.e not requiring proof) - a headache, a tummy ache, even his scratches and bruises were invisible although if he spent long enough rubbing a spot he could raise a slight redness in his skin. If he made it to the end of the lesson he suddently felt 'much better'. He would usually arrive in the classroom already complaining, but if not on arrival then the aches and pains would suddenly materialise when there was work to be done. As I was only placed at the school for the short 5 week half term before easter I did not know the pupils very well. For the first few time I allowed him permission to go to the medical room but discussed him with my mentor, just to ask if he had known health issues or anything we should be concerned about. She told me there are no known concerns about his health or welfare but to keep an eye on him. That was when I discovered that his ailments always appeared at work time. I found this pupil really irritating because he would often interrupt my teaching or when I was assisting another pupil to tell me his problems. When he actually tried to do some work I was pleased and would try discuss it with him but the conversation would soon turn to his sore finger (which prevented him writing) or his sore leg (which prevented him being able to sit) or his sore eyes (because his mum packed his incorrect pair of glasses today) or his sore head or ...... Needless to say I got very little written work out of him for assessment. I got little out of him verbally because he would be asking half way through answering a question and come down with tummy ache. I believe the complaints were delay or distraction tactics to get out of work, or even better, to get out of the lesson. But what if they weren't? How do you tell a genuine problem from a made up one? How do you deal with the hypochondriac who constantly interrupts and distracts your lessons? As a trainee I think the pupil was trying to get one over on me and I don't have years of experience or kids of my own to know when it is serious. Also as I was only placed there for 5 weeks I did not know the kids very well, and I feel that if this happened at a school where I am permamently employed I would be discussing this problem with his parents. I did not get the opportunity for that this time.