Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Drink 'n' drugs 'n' joggin' on

Today, a student told me to 'jog on,' after I said I would have to confiscate her jewellery if she didn't remove it.

'It ain't jewellery,' she said. 'It's rings. So you can jog on.'
Well, I didn't jog on. I told her, in my very quietest, intense voice that she needed to learn some manners, and that the word 'jewellery' was a generic term for necklaces, bracelets etc and therefore included rings. She looked slightly bemused at the word 'generic' so I deposited a dictionary on her desk and told her to look it up.

And then I jogged on.

I called Alcoholics Anonymous. Not for my personal use, you understand, but for the purpose of a speaker coming in to speak to Year 10 on Focus Day. They were very helpful and said the local co-ordinator would be in touch in the next day or two. I then spent a very dispiriting two hours after school scouring the internet for suitable clips, films, resources about teenagers and alcohol, and it seems to me the message is, 'Go ahead and drink yourself stupid because everyone else does; we can't stop you anyway. Just remember to keep your face out of your pool of vomit or you might suffocate.'

A child who regularly arrives in my class stoned up to his eyeballs has been out of class lately and I spent half an hour this morning putting together a package of lesson material for him on the request of a behaviour manager because 'every child matters' and his education must remain high on my list of priorities even though he can't focus on anything for more than 20 seconds and spends most of his time asking me if I want to buy some weed. Needless to say, the pack is still sitting on my desk.

A girl from the traveller community, who hasn't been in school for months, suddenly appeared today and spent all lesson talking to her mates "coz I ain't seen 'em for ages, and you can't stop me talking to 'em." She was right, I couldn't. I tried. But was ignored. It was like I was invisible. And I am, generally, a very difficult person to ignore. But then I remembered that in 5 weeks' time I shall be 46, which is the age women become invisible, so p'raps I'm already fading from view. Silly me.

I did a bit more jogging on during my free lesson today, to support a young colleague who is struggling with her very special year 7 class and no-one else seems to want to help. I stayed for 15 minutes and played 'bad cop' to her 'good cop' and I think that for as long as we are taller than these children, we'll be able to sustain the role play.

I paraded around the school grounds at break time, spooking Year 10 and 11 smokers from their hiding places. It's a great game and it makes them furious.
'Do you have to come all the way down here?' demanded one addict as I leapt around the corner of the sports hall.
'Yes,' I said. 'I've got ADHD; if I don't pace about I'll lose it in class. I'll be like a ping-pong ball. And did you know that if you carry on smoking you'll end up with a mouth like a cat's bottom by the time you're 30?'

And I jogged on.

At home I made a cake. I haven't made a cake for AGES because school has impinged on my cake-baking time. It was very therapeutic. My new bank continues to impress me by sending, tres pronto, a form I had requested AND a first class envelope in which to return it. And the water board dealt very efficiently and cheerfully with a query I had.

It's been a funny old day, but I'm here now, eating a jaffa cake, drinking a cuppa and thinking how fab my sixth formers have been this week. I've got 11 in the group now. They keep escaping from Maths, which shows great intelligence I think. Yesterday, Number 11 arrived. He said, 'I've tried Maths but it wasn't happening. I kept hearing from the others how good English Lit was, so is it okay if I join the group?'

Sometimes, just sometimes, teaching makes me smile.

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