Get ready because I am going to have a full on TEACHER MOAN. Now normally I love my job, really I do. In fact I think I am rather good at it and I have an excellent rapport with teenagers. Most days it all works. But when it is bad it is really awful and today was one of those days. Teenage boys are like pingpong balls. They cannot sit still for very long and even in the middle of a test they can suddenly jump up and knock over a chair or run to me with a hopeless question. So once the test is over, there is nothing else that can be achieved for the rest of the class. My job is simply to contain them until the bell goes and pity the poor girls. I had one young chap today who decided to put his bag on the floor under his desk and rest his pretty head down until the bell went. Clever, I thought, as it was hard to see him under there and when I did finally spot him I was ready to lose it.
One of the spelling words today was Ballistic and I was close to giving them an actual definition. They didn’t like me and I sure as hell didn’t like them. A thin, blue eyed boy who has a little “Another Country” about him; he is very beautiful in a way that is not appreciated by girls now but will be much later; decided to argue with me over whether or not he had correctly answered a question. The answer he had given was stunningly brilliant. Something that displayed such intelligence that could suitably fit into higher education, but in showing off his extraordinary ability to infer religious hyprocrisy in Romeo and Juliet, he had not actually answered the question. He flounced off with a melodramatic turn of his head and said “ Don’t cross me Ms Chesler.”
He then wrote a note on the top of his paper that read “ I cannot lie. So I cannot say I am wrong. But I also cannot say that you are right either.”
I value this boy’s intelligence I wish he would ask further questions instead of just assuming he is right and knows it all. I need someone out there to save me from the more parochial of topics. I always teach to the higher level and expect the others to catch up. But there are days when this backfires like a giant slap on the face. My test was hard but they still should have done better. Now I know that the majority of boys, all throughout my classes had been thinking about breasts. Maybe, most practically, even about mine.
I stomped into the car at the end of the day and sat crossly all the way home. I hate it when it doesn’t work.
I teach 6 classes and I am amazed at how each group holds their own shape and character. Each class has between 17 and 21 students. One class is wild. The kids have huge personalities and are the sports stars of the grade. They are very vibrant and passionate, often turning between tears and fury in a day. This class was recently, by all the other exhausted teachers, given a Merit book to encourage some new and calmer behavior. Once they received 50 merits, they would be given a free dress day. This wild class also happens to be my form room and on a wednesday when I have them for a double in the afternoon I always get a headache. Today they got their 50 merits. It only took them close to 3 weeks! So a crazy free dress is ahead.
There is another class that is my clever class. It is as if someone poured the greatest concentration of brains into one room. That is it. I love them am so sad that the majority will be leaving next year for boarding school. Trooper is in that class. ( Yes, maybe I should write about teaching my own daughter at some point.)
A school is like a mini world. It is a microcosm of politics and love stories and gossip and drama. There is heartbreak and joy, sadness and jest all under one roof and often in one day. Today was a hard one and my patience wore thin. Sometimes I need to remember that they are so so young and not so wise.
Best moment of the day. Repeating this line to my Year 8 ( Grade 7 class ) and they just loved it. The little romantics.
“I mean, that my heart unto yours in knit,
So that but one heart we can make of it.”
( Midsummer’s Night Dream.)