Sometimes the weight on my shoulders is not just caused by the amount of books I’m carrying home to mark. Not giving my class an inch is proving to be energy zapping. I was caught doodling during an Inset, by the Head teacher. I’d drawn a picture of me in bed surrounded by a crowd of shouting faces.
At least the children remember to humour me sometimes. During a role play between a nurse and a soldier, one piped up with “Thank you for curing me, I can’t wait to get back to killing people!” The creepier version followed with an odd child embracing the nurse and whispering “Thanks for the medicine, I will never forgive you, I hope you want to die”. That’s gratitude for you.
To break the unease from the scene, a new child arrived unannounced. It turned out he was one of a family of 11 that had been given the green light to join our school. His father was still dressed in his dressing gown as he dropped him off. With two wives in tow, I could forgive the Hugh Hefner of North London for letting himself go a bit.
I met one of the younger brothers in the line at the school canteen. He was in the midst of telling me that if I ever owned a lizard he could sort me out some frozen crickets, when he tested how hot the soup was by dipping his hand in it. Luckily for him the salad counter was both on and then in hand…I went for the cream crackers and gave the jelly a miss just to be on the safe side.
When a drama company ask you to be a part of their production you can’t help but be flattered. When they tell you it’s because they’re short of a racist, you can’t help but feel a bit paranoid. Do I look racist? Do I walk like one? The white hood and burning cross could have been the giveaway. The story concerned Ruby Bridges, the first black girl to enter an all white school. I had mixed feelings as my class congratulated me on being a “first class bigot”.
When a caretaker asks to borrow your internet you fear the worst. Thankfully he just wanted help with a job application. I was reluctant to type it all out for him but after he’d picked up the mouse and tried to talk into it, I knew he couldn’t do this alone.
My mouth reminded me it was time to go home when I mispronounced a single word from the sentence “Take your shape sheets and sit on the carpet”. My class didn’t take my request literally.
Teaching sometimes rids me of the time to stop and appreciate things. As I watched the new kid trudge sorrowfully home after Dad had said he couldn’t afford for him to join the football team, I caught sight of the moon in all its glory and thanked my lucky stars.