The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Monday, September 06, 2004

New Term, new start. Several days to prepare classes, stock, classrooms. To move yourself into The Zone.
The Zone where eight-two piece of differently coloured paper, 15 sticks of glue, 17 stencils, 32 books, and 64 small hands are not even a remotely daunting prospect.
The Zone where should a problem arise, any problem, of any magnitude, you remain still, calm and centred, and respond as if this happens every day.
Robert threw my pen in the bin. Lester packed his bag for the wrong day, so he brought all the wrong books. Ashley said 'dickhead'. Joe broke his finger. Sam has wet himself. Tom hates English. Levi can't write till the cast comes off. Lester is eating his crisps and won't stop. Xhin wasn't here yesterday. Rami can't remember what happens in chapter two. Ugo needs to see the head now. Lester has had enough and is going home now, right now, so stuff your English lesson you stupid teacher.

The Zone is where all of these incidents are like flies buzzing around your statue, around your implacable knowledge that all this has happened before and you know all the answers.

So it was a great start to lock myself accidentally into the empty school building last thing on Friday evening.
I set off the motion activated burglar alarms, yes. I found myself, about seven o'clock, looking longingly at the sofa in reception, true. Spent an hour on hold to the local police department. Contemplated jemmying a basement window I know is loose. Caught sight of scrupulous CCTV coverage and realised I'd be immortalised in celluloid doing so, and still have to scale an eight foot fence to the street.

What a start. What a year this promises to be.