Meet the Fockers
One of the many jewels in the SOHK social calendar is Parents' Evening. I was curious to see how many parents from my new class would bother to attend. We never have much of a turn-out at our school. In the end I saw a grand total of 7 parents (out of a possible 24). No punch-up between dads this time (that Hallmark moment occurred during my first ever parents' evening at the SOHK). However, the moment that sums up the bleakness of event was with little TC's mum. TC is a lovely boy, smiley, loving, polite, hard-working. Admittedly he is as dim as an Ikea energy-saving lightbulb, but basically though he is a sweet, sweet boy. I summarised these points to his mum. TC sat in the chair next to her, squirming proudly at the praise he was receiving. On hearing his (mostly) gushing report his harridan of a mother snarled,
' I divvint naa why youse are saying that like. The bastard's an evil little shite at home.'
I once watched TC give his mum a mother's day card he had made in class. She didn't even look at it, she crumpled it up and dropped it on the school yard.
I was rendered speechless at the staff meeting last night. In the words of Tom Jones that in itself is 'not unusual'. I have taken a strict vow of silence in all staff meetings. All sane, level-headed teachers know that if we don't say anything we'll probably get home quicker. Home to a hot bath, a comforting supper and a cosy sofa. Of course, even when we Stepfords are united in our vow of silence there is no guarantee of an early escape. Pompous does not actually require an active, participative audience. It's like verbal necrophilia. He bores for England, whether we join in or not.
Yesterday, however, he astounded me. Pompous has been struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour in our sprawling, urban community school. He started off with great intentions and high expectations. Gradually though, he has been worn down and the children are running amok. Our previous headteacher, Olga, despite being female and 89 years old (well, almost) had a steely grip on the school. If some cheeky Year 6 ne're-do'well kicked off in lessons Olga would march into the classroom and drag the spitting, screaming oik out of the door by his jug-ears. Parents regarded her with equal amounts of fear and respect. Pompous seems out of his depth. But, yesterday he announced he had a plan.
'I've had a genius idea.' he announced smugly. 'I'm just amazed that it hasn't been done before. I'm going to employ a community-outreach police officer on secondment in school. He will deal with all the behaviour issues and exclusions. He will work with the challenging parents.'
I couldn't believe my Brighton piers. A police officer stationed in a primary school!!! Doing Pompous's job for him! It makes me wonder what exactly the officious oaf is being paid a £70K salary for. It would be a bit like me proclaiming that I couldn't cope with my class and asking for someone else to be brought in to do the actual teaching for me (whilst I still get paid, of course). Utter madness. It is the kind of story my Aunty Joan would read in the Daily Express and I would dismiss as being right-wing scare-mongering.
The Twat in the Hat
Yesterday a poet/ magician/ ventriloquist/ performance artist visited our school. I didn't like the look of the cove. He had a straggly grey beard. There were beads and ribbons in it. He was about 67. Did I mention he was also sporting a top hat and a frayed black-t-shirt with some kind of a slogan on? I couldn't quite make out the slogan, it had obviously faded during the 2 or 3 washes it had in the last 45 years. It was something about empowerment for vegan whales. Or lesbian badger liberation. All in all there was the distinct odor of felafel and Guardian newsprint about the crusty clod. He read some poems. They were good and quite funny but the kids were getting restless. Our poet overheard a Year 5 teacher telling her class off for talking during the performance.
'He kids, do you wanna see my impersonation of a teacher?' quipped our Charlie Manson-esque entertainer. He turned his back to his audience of ruffians and rummaged in his ASDA carrier. I couldn't exactly see what he was up to. Suddenly, he turned round, sporting a pig mask.
'Here, kids, this is what your teachers are really like! Next time they ask you to be quiet why don't you all just say 'oink oink'.'
Fucking great, I thought. That is all we need. Some senior-citizen, counter-culture, chick-pea bothering, be-sandaled twat who thinks he's 'down with the kids' encouraging a disrespect for teachers. The kids get enough of that at home.
Later that day I heard little TC sniggering at the back of the class.
'Miss Underscore, do you want to know what teachers are really like.' he squealed.
I saw him scrunch up his face. I knew an 'oink' was imminent. I responded with my sternest, iciest Paddington 'hard stare'.
'Tell me TC. Think REALLY carefully before you answer though, what are teachers really like?'
TC, powerless to ignore the power of my gimlet glare, was silent for a few seconds, whilst he frantically re-assessed his strategy.
'Err. . . . lovely Miss Underscore. Teachers are lovely.'