Apathy Jack writes:
or: I get very tired around this time of year...
“Don’t you think it’s a hell of a coincidence that this review is almost word for word the same as the review written on the same book by your mate?”
“I’m not a cheater!”
“You’re a lying sack of crap, is what you are.”
“I’m not a sack of crap.”
“You’re fifty pounds of crap in a twenty-pound bag, and you cheated on your review.”
So, one of my juniors accidentally called me ‘Dad’ the other day. Happens occasionally. However, one of the boys hasn’t let her forget it – and is becoming quite tiresome with it: He made a big display of calling me over with “Dad! Come and help me, Dad.”
Normally I’d glare at him, or yell, or some such, but it’s been a very long term, and I’m tired, so as I walk over to him, I say, just loud enough for the whole class to hear: “I don’t know what you think I’ve been doing with your mother that would make me your father...”
Professional? Probably not, but, after the laughter and mockery had died down, this boy was quiet for the rest of the period.
Student 1 “What did we do in class yesterday?”
Student 2 “We had a Roman orgy.”
Me “Well, actually, that would have been a more interesting internal assessment than the rather dry research project I gave you to do.”
Student 2 “Wouldn’t that be a cool thing to appear on your report: Roman Orgy – six credits.”
Me “Yeah, but what if you got a Not Achieved?”
Student 2 “Ooh, that would hurt. Would there be a resit?”
Me “Yeah, but you’d have to rest for a while first, get your energy back up.”
“Here. Here. Here. Oops – Looks like I’m out of sheets. Hold on a second while I go and copy some more.”
“Why did you give him the last sheet instead of me?”
“It’s because he’s white, isn’t it?”
So, for a while now I’ve been lending my little goth sundry books of interest: Dracula, the odd Lovecraft anthology and the like. After she found my copy of Nightmares and Fairytales (my fault for leaving it in the comparatively public domain of inside a closed drawer), I started letting her borrow the various “goth friendly” comics I have lying around – Squee, Lenore, you know the ones. They’ve gone down a treat, and she’s been evangelising them to all of her friends, and even her parents.
Who have now put her in therapy because they’re worried about the things she’s reading.
I’ve managed to mess with students before – in fact, I do so on a hobbyist basis, but having one sent to the brain doctors is a new low in my professional career...
Oh, and I broke out the horse blinders again, which is never a sign that I’ve been sleeping well...
As I’m leaving school the other day, one of my Year 13s catches up with me and we walk together.
She’s in my Year 11 class: The first time she failed was her fault, but the second was a direct result of my school’s inability to retain good English teachers – which leads to a revolving door of people who can’t tell Shakespeare from Bacon. This kid thinks that I’m the reason she is finally succeeding in English. Despite my best efforts to convince her otherwise, she won’t believe that her passing grades are entirely due to intelligence and hard work on her part.
We walk together for a while, and our discussion turns to University. My girl is getting worried: School is over for her in a matter of weeks and she still hasn’t decided what she wants to do.
As it transpires, she simply doesn’t know anything about tertiary education. The subject of university isn’t discussed in her house any more than the subject of walking on the Moon – for much the same reason. We chat about eligibility, about working, about student loans, and the sundry little specifics of her high school career.
As we talk, a light comes on in her eyes. She tells me that she has it figured out: Not her whole life, but the next few years of it. Like I said – she’s intelligent. She thinks fast.
As we’re saying our goodbyes a few days later, she hugs me and tells me that she will be back: She has the next year or so figured out, but would like my opinion on her half-formed plans for life thereafter. A ten minute conversation and her uncertainty is lifted, a blueprint for the future sketched.
Some days it doesn’t matter how tired I am.
Oops. I let a positive “I like my job” post slip through.
I know some of you think these posts are boring, and many of you think I’m being sanctimonious. But here’s the thing: You’re right. As my friends will tell you, I am, by nature, a boring and sanctimonious person. Congratulations, you win the prize. The prize is not reading my posts anymore if they upset you that much. Because for as long as these sorts of moments make up for all of the bad, and talk me once again out of quitting teaching to find a nice quiet retail job somewhere, these posts will keep coming.