The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Friday, May 06, 2005

Finishing up your contract at a job involves much going through of old papers, sorting out what's useful for other staff to be left behind, and what's just junk that's cluttered your desk for a decade or more.

I found a leather bound expensive notebook. Habitat, handmade paper, decorative and rich. I wondered if it might contain an old journal, or perhaps was a child's very realistic interpretation of documents to be included in a fictional police case file?

Turning the first leaf, I saw printed very neatly in large, round hand, the following words:
Ms Lectrice has completely lost her voice
Turning another few leaves I find blue biro instructions for a series of classes, and a series of hastily elected monitors to read out.
Sixth form: We have some folders that we need to complete this lesson.
Year 10: We need to get the text books from Miss M.
Year 11: It's your final debate! Comfort's group will go first.
I think back to Hipteacher's silent protest lesson a few weeks ago, and feel a warm reassurance that it is possible to teach without shouting or raising your voice. Without even speaking at all. A golden memory of how children can rise to a challenge, of how real human compassion is not beyond their grasp.

Until the rounded letters suddenly change. A sharp black jagged scrawl interrupts the simple blue instructions.
Terry: get OFF the table.

Lucy: STOP chewing.

SIT DOWN: Jessica, Meltem, Melissa, Stephanie.

TERRY! Sit down or be sent out.

I will ask Ms ScaryPrincipal to deal with you if you do not work
And in a neon green haphazard child's scrawl, beneath:
The rosy glow of memorialising myself ... fades.