Vandals had run amok through the school. I had to console one child who was due to present her clay Olympic athlete to the school. “There was nothing we could have been done” I explained “by the time I got to the scene he’d lost a lot of clay”.
The last observations were in full flow and the sense of dread hung heavily in the air. I tried to think about anything else. I was grateful for any distraction whether it be overheard staff room conversation “if I put night cream on my face during the day will my skin be confused?” to stories from the delicate soul that gives me an occasional lift home. She’s being propelled into a forced marriage. The last time she suggested marrying anything less than 100% Persian her father cried and feigned a heart attack and her mother screamed. “Took it well did they?” I couldn’t resist.
The random acts of violence aren’t the only thing spreading through school, so is the pox. Its latest victim was in my class. After she’d been to the school nurse she returned to class to collect her belongings. Her friends, naturally pleased to see her, rushed to give her a hug. “Stop!” I shouted, creating a weird human barrier in front of them. She didn’t know she had it, they didn’t know she had it. I didn’t want to create any alarm. “Just give her some space” I asked nicely “maybe lots of space”.
To prepare for the observation I used the children as unwitting soundboards. “Yeah I’ll get your ball down from the tree, and what’s that you say? What exactly are we doing in Literacy this afternoon?” I told every child within earshot of the breakdown of every lesson, even the new kid. In exchange she told me jokes. Listening to someone with little understanding of English read out jokes (stopping every other word to ask how to pronounce something) was actually funny in my delirious state. Who said comedy is all about timing?
We’re actually becoming something of a comedy double act. Every morning the following exchange takes place:
New girl: I’ve learnt a new word
Me: Lovely, what’s the word?
New girl: (word for that day)
Me: Well done, do you know what it means?
New girl: No (walks off)
It was the Head teacher observing me for the first time. I felt a sense of unease as she walked in but everything was organised. The kids, bless them, were firing with good ideas. “Let’s list some of them” I suggested. As I reached for the interactive whiteboard pen I discovered that the nib had been ripped from its socket. The vandals had struck again.
Thankfully I “rocked it old skool” by completing the lesson using a good old-fashioned pen and board. The Head teacher had previously hugged another colleague following an observation and while I didn’t even get a high-five I was grateful to get through it with enough positivity. Just got to keep on keeping on.