The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ten minutes into the first lesson of the first day back after half term, and Tony has outlived his own patience, is sent out for yelling, ripping up books and backchatting the teacher. He runs away, and the deputy head on child-catcher duty is informed. Tony returns to stand in the doorway shouting at me, and I quietly conduct the rest of the lesson from the doorway, to keep a physical and verbal barrier between him and the other children. The head teacher arrives, takes Tony off my hands, and demonstrates by example that there are consequences to the rest of the class. Tony buts and what ifs and stumbles on his interruptions as he pours out his take of how Miss Lectrice Did him Wrong. The head raises a flat palm, and silences him with an "ah!"
I close the door and leave them to it, resume the rounds of checking homework spellings have been copied correctly.
"Miss," whispers Joanne, as I write her three times checked 'apperience' out again for her, "Why is she like that?"

"Like what? Do you mean the head teacher?" I keep my voice low. "She's removing a naughty child so that the rest of us can work well."

"Like a queen. Why does she have to be like that?"

I lean in and whisper. "Because she's the boss. One day you'll grow up and be the boss, and then it's right and proper that you'll be the queen of everybody and boss them all about when they need bossing about."

"No I won't!" She shakes her head furiously. "I'll never behave like the queen."