Entering the playground after half term, I was confronted by a sight to send shivers down the spine of every ‘Daily Mail’ reader. There, stood before me, was a youth in a hooded top, otherwise known as a “hoodie”. Thankfully it was just Zak, who warned me he was now a “Gangsta”.
To his credit, he kept in character for most of the morning. He swaggered around and even refused to watch a BBC Bitesize film about arguments, until I confirmed Melvin & Steven were at least part-time Gangstas’. He only blew his cover when he elucidated on the subject of nightwear. “Gangstas don’t wear pyjamas” I reliably informed him.
Once Zak had, with a thudding predictability, been excluded from class, we were left wandering the corridors for somewhere to work. Eventually, we ended up in the kitchen, while two tradesman replaced an oven nearby.
It become an almost comical arena to teach in. Zak interrupted me every five minutes, for me to reaffirm they’d just used the “f word”, then one of the tradesman told me I was “doing it all wrong”. I should just teach Zak about measurements, he asserted. “If you ask me” (I hadn’t) “teach him what an inch is, a foot is, stuff like that”, he continued “then one day if he wants to (he won’t), he can be like me” (he doesn’t).
We ended the day in the library. I read to Zak about Bradley Chalkers, a child with “serious behavioural problems”. I’m hoping Melvin, Steven and Bradley will help make a happy ending.