Monday, November 14, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

So, another student accidentally called me Dad.

Unlike the one in my last post, who made the sort of mistake that is surprisingly common at third form level, this one is Year 12. This is the kid who has been in my class for four years – at least one of which she spent industriously trying to set me up with her mother. This is the kid who changed her options at the beginning of the year to get back into my class, the kid who has spent ages with me as the year ends trying to process the fact that, because I don’t teach level three, I’m not going to be her English teacher for the first time ever. The kid that I recently overheard telling her boyfriend that, while he was special to her, he’d have to wait a while before he had the kind of connection she and I had.

When she called me Dad, there was no self-consciousness, no feeling of being shamed in front of her peers. “I called you Dad” she said, curious at her slip rather than embarrassed by it. Then she came up and hugged me goodbye.

I’m the sort of tired that I had forgotten existed, and it really has been a prick of a year in a lot of regards – the students have noticed how exhausted I am: One of them wrote as her goodbye to me on the whiteboard “Stop stressin yourself out man. It’s bad for the health!!” and I got an email from one of my Year 13s saying “i just wanted to ask if you were ok? u didn’t look very happy the last couple of weeks.”

Now that they’re gone, life can start making sense again for a while. But they’ve taken a big part of me with them.