Today was officially the longest day of the year. Everybody seemed to have gone a little crazy. One child approached me, wearing a baseball cap. “Look!” he said, whipping it off to reveal no eyebrows “I found my dad’s razor last night!” It was surprising as he’s one of the teacher’s children, with a very keen interest in Science. Sir Isaac Newton once stuck a pin in his own eye, so maybe it’s too early to start worrying.
Even the usually reserved School Secretary was affected by the summer solstice. Zak successfully pumped up a football and she remarked “well if I ever need a good pumping I know where to come”. It was like being on the set of a ‘Carry On’ film. Even a quick visit to the toilet was timed by one of the children in class. “Two minutes and 57 seconds!” he roared, upon my return. This was also the one child who had a vuvuzela to hand. Thank God I’m not constipated.
Zak’s removal from the Social Skills lesson was an irony only lost on him. Having retired to a safe distance, he was now laying under a table, as I tried to climb back on the curriculum wagon. I was trying to explain the difference between formal and informal. He seemed to quickly grasp the concept. I can’t help thinking my inadvertent cockney accent to represent ‘informal’ was the giveaway though.
Zak was in an acerbic mood. He told me how he’d ingratiated himself with the new kids in his area, by giving them sticks to beat his brother with. He interrupted Assembly to ask me loudly if you can survive without farting. He also started playing xylophone during a French lesson, with an improvised tune nauseatingly close to Modern Jazz.
I’ve never openly shown my complete exasperation with Zak’s behaviour until today. I returned to our hovel to find he’d sellotaped his mouth and tied his wrists together. “What’s wrong with you?” I cried. He couldn’t respond of course. I walked him to the Head teacher’s office. Anyone seeing him bound and gagged would have thought I’d finally flipped.
I sometimes feel my self-confidence shredded and dignity dented when I struggle to control Zak. At the back of my exercise book I’ve jotted down some sentences from Zak’s statement such as ‘does not listen to adults’ ‘fights on an extremely regular basis’ and ‘a child with severe emotional, behavioural and social difficulties’. I’ll develop it into a mantra I can silently recite while Zak is threatening to put me “in a bath with a shark, where there is no gravity”. He needs to work on some of his put downs.
At the end of the day Roisin confirmed Zak would be going to a Secondary School for children with emotional and behavioural problems. There seems little hope he will ever be in mainstream education beyond the next few weeks. Even Mum and Dad have apparently not told him the news. I gather his parents have invited me over for dinner, I hope that’s not the evening they drop the bombshell.