Salt Water

The current initiative at School is to stem the tide of ‘f**k your Mum’s!” Ok, so the Head teacher didn’t put it like this in Assembly, but that’s the current phrase being batted around by kids to an exhaustive degree. It was oh so different last week. The School was ablaze with whoops and cheers as England scored in the World Cup (for some it was just an excuse to scream and go nuts in School). Now there is a discernible lull, a collective dragging of the feet and wearisome insults, it’s not helped by the heat.

Zak is a mess. I explained what causes bloodshot eyes today, in the hope he might go to bed a little earlier. He dictates his own bedtime and it’s visible in his lethargy and bad temper. He’s moved house for the third time in as many months; he is yet further away from School and an hour late each morning.

His mood was erratic and antagonistic for much of the day. To watch him boast to his peers, I had to remind myself this is the same child petrified of pigeons and who refuses to use the School’s toilet for fear of crocodiles. The only light relief came from a child keen to show us a card trick. He asked me to select a card, with his back turned. He then chose the incorrect card. He tried the same trick on Zak, with the same result. “That’s magic!” exclaimed Zak. The trick only seems to work if the person forgets which card they originally chose.

Time stood still during the afternoon exclusion shift. We broke from the syllabus to discuss the injustice of having to pay for sachets of ketchup in certain chip shops. We also played ‘Truth or Dare’. His dares involved me drinking enough salt water for me to go mad, while I ‘dared’ him to recite the 9 times table.

The equivalent School nightmare of turning up for work with no clothes on, would be wrestling a demented child from a packed Assembly. Time again stood still, as I dragged Zak away from another confrontational situation, while trying not to trip over a couple of hundred pairs of feet. To his sole credit, Zak did manage to avoid saying ‘f**k your Mum!” Kate later joined the chorus of teachers who’ve uttered the phrase “I feel sorry for you”.

The new hardline involves telling any parents of their children’s exclusion. As he arrived to collect him, I was about to impart the sad news to Zak’s Dad. For the second time that day though, I found myself looking into a pair of bloodshot eyes. I decided it could wait till tomorrow.


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