Monday, 21 April 2014

The Moment When You Realise It's All Out Of Control.

So there I was, holding exalted court upon the class of bright-eyed and impeccably engaged year nines and delivering to them a beautiful sermon of learning that was both student-led and teacher facilitated. The lesson that kept them so enraptured was both meticulously planned and evolved through the lesson in a free and organic way driven, equally, by every single student in the classroom. So what should happen to this calm eutopia (which is a word, incidentally) of learning, there was, and in some ways, deep in my mind, a knock at the door. I beckoned, reluctantly, a small and nervous looking year seven into the class room.

A deviation: This child is one of those children who you have no choice but to believe anything that they say, at least for the first eight or ten times that they lie to you. On of those students that not only has one of those faces, but also knows that they have this in their possession and seeks intuitively to exploit this at every turn. In your mind you probably can think of a student that fills this template and the many times that they have sought to deceive you with only their innocent smile and enrapturing eyes. You are probably also cursing. This may be important to the story. It may also not.

The oasis of calm shattered indefinitely, I turned to the child and asked them, in my most annoyed tone, what the problem was, or what she needed, or what her exact purpose was in breaking the beautiful stained glass of learning that was being created in my classroom.

A deviation: There may well be some exaggeration in parts of this story yet I assure you that the important bits are true.

She had panic in her eyes and a mere few words escaped her mouth like dying embers thrown up into the dark night surrounding a campfire.

'I think Tina has passed out Sir.'

Now, quite apart from the fact I had no idea who Tina was or what in any deity's name was going on there is one fact that fills the core of every teaching day and is consistently ignored by pretty much everyone; We simply aren't trained for this sort of shit. Since the council declared that any child of mine would be disposed of without remorse lest the insanity spread I have no real parenting instinct. I only know that when a scared little kid walks into your classroom and tells you that then you just do what you know you should without thinking. So I went around the corner and saw the kid lying on the floor. So again, I didn't think, I just did. I told the scared little girl to go and get the most senior and first teacher she could find, and I stayed with the girl and bring her round.

I would later find out that the girl was a known epileptic and that it was all pretty standard and, to be totally fair, I do have a history of looking after epileptics (sort of) so it wasn't as panicky for me as it may have been for others but, when the other staff got there and starting sorting things out I simply returned to the class that I had told the words immemorial of 'Talk amongst yourselves', told them that it was all okay as I shrugged nonchalantly and continued with the lesson. That was it. Incident over.

Later, much later, but still the same day and in the relative comfort of the staff room a teacher came up to me and said to me something along the lines of  'I hear you were up to some heroics earlier?' I didn't know what they were talking about. I had to ask. 'Oh, I heard that Tina had had a seizure.' 'Oh yeah', I said. Thinking nothing of it because it's our job, isn't it. It's what we do. We just do things, regardless of anything else we just do what we have to. We're not an emergency service, or the military, or anyone who could rightly be a hero, but we just get stuff done when it has to be done and when it has to be done we do it with utter confidence regardless of all the little tugging daemons inside of us rattling our hearts like babies' toys and prodding something very sharp and confusing into our brains. I don't think there are many teachers that would have done anything different to me.because I didn't do, well, anything. I did my job, you all do your jobs every day. I don't want a ribbon or a medal or a road named after me, I just want kids to know that it's all going to be okay to the best of our abilities should anything ever go wrong.

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