He’s behind you

Pantomime came early to the School today. The kids devised a new playground game, which basically amounted to pick a kid and boo him. Zak was inevitably on the hit list, but seemed to enjoy the attention. He’s now part of the pre-school football training and even inspired a new term ‘Zak-ish’. The expression, thought up by the School Secretary, is used to describe anything done or said in an angry, unpleasant way. I like to think of this as further evidence of his integration into the School.

He was certainly ‘Zak-ish’ in the morning. There was only one child, in a lesson about ‘Fairtrade’ that refused to share his chocolate. It was an unfair trade, as far as Zak was concerned. This was indicative behaviour of a generally volatile classroom. Among the class was a young woman on work experience. By the end of the lesson, her shell-shocked thousand yard stare spoke volumes. She asked “would you ever work again with a child with special…?” “No” I interrupted. “Would you work with year 6…?” I began, a shake of the head and she was gone.

In the afternoon we visited the local park for our School’s Olympics. I was the Head of ‘Team Great Britain’. I toyed with the idea of giving the kids in my team fizzy drinks, the equivalent of steroids for adults. I couldn’t risk any random urine tests though. Instead, I conformed to a Great British stereotype and forced them to wear neckties along with their PE gear.

Each team composed of a mixed bag of sporting abilities. I had a child who spent most of the time scratching around in the dirt and making pretend roll-ups. His suggestion for a new 100 metre event was enough to dent my Olympic spirit. If you’ve ever seen the behaviour of dogs on carpets suffering with worms, you can imagine his idea.

Back in the playground, our afternoon kick around ended abruptly, when I accidentally collided with Zak. He went flying, landed in a crumpled heap and cried. I felt like the biggest ogre imaginable. We rushed to the medical room and I cursed my big feet and tall frame. While I dabbed his cuts and apologised profusely, another child was being treated for ‘pinching the top of his leg till it hurt’.

Zak dried his eyes and proudly showed me his scooter. He’d argued his parents into submission sufficiently, to get the morning off school to buy it. Although he’d originally wanted a BMX, they were sold out. The scooter had seen better days and this somehow further compounded my sense of guilt. I did my best though to encourage him on the walk home.

As he flew downhill on the scooter, thankfully staying on his feet this time, it occurred to me this was something else that might end in tears. All of the other kids have BMX bikes, and just as his SAT’s exclusion demonstrated, Zak doesn’t have a hope of keeping up with them.

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