Raw Materials

Paul Weller once sang “I first felt a fist”.  The child, who sits closest to me, first felt my foot. It was an accident but I still felt awful. “I hope that was just the side of his head” I thought in the split seconds that followed. “Nope, bridge of the nose” as the tears confirmed otherwise. The child is specifically sat there due to his meandering concentration. If some good came of this, it’s that he’s now a lot more alert.

He’s not quite a Ninja yet and neither is the woman in the Burqa, despite the autistic child’s insistent she was. I was hoping she would at least hop into character and break a whiteboard in two with her bare hands.

I haven’t yet told my class I am leaving at the end of term; there are enough examples of erratic and emotional behaviour to suggest this is the right choice. Whoever taught my class “pinch, punch first of the month” needs a slap and a kick. Five days into the month and there’s no sign of a let up.

A paper tie I proudly wore, met its maker after a sudden stiff breeze. The original maker, a girl in my class, was so bereft she locked herself in the toilet. I was sent to negotiate. I ended up climbing on to the toilet next door. It was at this point I noticed she hadn’t flushed. Her English is limited I ended up having to use mime. Thankfully, the sign language for ‘pull the chain!’ is the same as ‘you need to take a serious look at your diet’.

A while later and now on playground duty, one of my class was bent double. “You need to deal with this” assured another teacher “it’s a man thing”. It appeared he’d been hurt ‘where it hurts a fella’. Again, the child had scant English.  Mime once again proved to be enough. I was concerned I might have to draw a diagram.

A lesson of still life drawing was interrupted by the cries of a child who’d decided that the sun kept still enough to draw. This was the same child that used a torch to interrogate others in a Science lesson so I put it down to karmic retribution.

A new child arrived just two weeks shy of the finish line. Oddly enough she claimed to be a year older than she should be. I also discovered her name sounded like Cootchie-Coo. If a name can dictate your personality I imagine her one day using words like ‘oodles’. Let’s hope names are not determining factors, especially for the child in the year below us called Dipshit.

The end to the day was life affirming. The autistic child whose hand I hold in our walks through school, gave it a squeeze, looked up at me and smiled. This was a major breakthrough. Not even the child that whispered the most depressing thing ever, as we buried our contribution to the School’s time capsule, could disrupt my mood.

Two weeks left to the end of term and there is refreshingly bright sunlight at the end of the tunnel. Next week’s list given to me by school management includes:

  • Change the children’s levels (the usual bullshit exercise to meet targets)
  • Correct the grammar of a colleague’s end of term reports who is not so good with the bad English (and is a teacher?)
  • Climb inside your own makeshift den and eat dairylea for the rest of the term (okay, they didn’t say this, but to quote Jessie Jackson ‘nobody has the right to limit your dreams’)

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