“It’s normally wet dreams and masturbation” remarked a teacher, as I entered the staff room. I was tempted to do a u-turn as I felt I was encroaching upon a private conversation. She was actually talking about the topics boys bring up in sex education lessons, which begin the next week. I wouldn’t have been privy to this chat but for the fact that I was Zak-lite. He’d been excluded for the day by Roisin, after a foul-mouthed outburst in front of parents and children.
It was a very liberating experience. For the first time in seven months I went for a cup of tea at break time, as opposed to my usual sentry duty in the playground. I also chatted to other members of staff. One teacher told me how, after last year’s end of term party, she’d held a sick bucket in front of her during the following days Assembly. Another staff member burst into the room and announced “I’m apparently obese!” after a torrid time at Weight Watchers. I read aloud from an article stating that teachers will now have rights to search pupils for pornography, fireworks and cigarettes. “Cool, my three favourite things!” declared one of the team.
Roisin told me how we’d been fighting a losing battle with Zak. He’d started the previous day promisingly, with his only friend returning to School, after a period of absence. The two talked about the ‘temporary housing merry-go-round’, how in recent months their families had been shown around each other’s houses. It made me realise how lucky I’d been as a child. Zak had also joked (I think) about kidnapping me, in order for me to visit his home. “I’ve got an X-box 360!” he insisted, his heavily bloodshot eyes imploring me to come by.
This just didn’t seem like the same child repeatedly swearing at me because I’d ask him to return a ball. The Head Teacher also mentioned Zak in the staff meeting. She talked about him consistently crossing boundaries, with an emphasis on this perhaps being his very last chance. They’d apparently been deliberating about him ‘for months’. A lot will depend upon his behaviour when he returns to School, that’s if he returns.
The afternoon Assembly featured presentations of the Science experiments I’d helped out with. Unfortunately I’d gone ‘mental with the mentos’ during our experiment. The group did at least have a good laugh at my expense, mentioning the ‘somebody’ who’d negated the result, and then unsubtly pointing at me. I played my part to perfection by shrugging and smiling good-naturedly to the children’s’ amusement.
During the afternoon’s ‘Make and Play’ I couldn’t help thinking this was all possible because Zak wasn’t here. I enjoyed some of the ‘Eureka’ moments from children, that make teaching rewarding and got to know the class a little better. I heard how one child’s grandmother had an unfortunate incident in Syria. “A fox ate her cheeks!” I’d thought she said, although realized later she meant ‘chicks’. I also overheard this;
“She’s in Year 6; she was like born in 1999! she is sooooo ancient!”.