Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our Dear Leader's reckless unwillingness to support her staff

I wish I could say that the events of the last two days had been extraordinary, a truly shocking aberration as unlikely, in bookies' terms, as Accrington Stanley winning the FA Cup, but, and I say this with unconscionable levels of regret, I'd be kidding myself. They're tragically familiar.

They have indeed re-enforced my loss of confidence in, and respect for, our senior leaders. Most notably, they prove our Dear Leader's reckless unwillingness - and the reckless unwillingness of the craven, nauseating lickspittles in her leadership team - to support staff after one of them - namely me - was subjected to threats and what can only be described as appalling levels of abuse at the grubby little hands of a recalcitrant fourteen-year-old thug.

I was supporting the school nurse as she delivered a rather sensitive lesson on Sexually Transmitted Infections. 'Is this how it goes, miss?' one of her young charges asked, chuckling whilst sliding the condom onto the artificial penis, a little too enthusiastically for my liking. I winced.

'Yes, Archie,' she replied. 'But try to do it more gently next time. You don't want it to fall off!' She obviously agreed with me.

At this stage the lesson was progressing relatively well. Okay, there was plenty of laughter and the odd gasp of vicarious discomfort as photographs of Gonorrhea patients decorated the whiteboard, but, all in all, and when one considers the sensitive nature of the content, the kids were being pretty mature about it all.

Alas, hubris can be a teacher's Achilles' heel, a professional hazard that will, if you succumb to its enticing glare, bite you on the backside and morph into the goddess of retributive justice - Nemesis.

But I only popped out for ten minutes, I thought! Everything seemed okay! On my return from the IT technical support team - a visit that seemed appropriate given the benign classroom environment cultivated by the school nurse - the sight that greeted me was remarkably different from the one I left some ten minutes earlier.

Inflated johnnies were everywhere; kids were screaming and adults were crying. Honestly...I'm not joking; the school nurse was in tears as her lesson degenerated into sexually charged chaos. One pupil was even standing on a table. 'Sit down!' I inefficaciously shouted. Predictably, though, and despite my decision to change tack, lower my voice and threaten them with a lunchtime detention instead, the little reprobates took several minutes to settle and, even then, Archie continued to  interrupt the nurse with contrived, false laughter and what is idiotically termed in teacher-lexicography, 'low level' chatter.

At the end of the lesson I carried out my threat to detain them for fifteen minutes. I was disgusted with their behaviour. Archie, though, was having none of it. He made clear that he wouldn't be staying, charged towards me (I just so happened to be standing in his path to the door) and told me to move. 'Get out of the fuckin' way!' he screamed.

'Go and sit down!' I shakily replied.

'D'you wanna go, do ya?!' he roared. 'Get outta my fuckin' way!'

'No' I protested. 'Go and sit down!' Backing down now was unthinkable. I couldn't move out of his way without losing face and, along with it, the respect of the other kids; anyway, he could have easily exited the classroom by walking around me. I wasn't blocking the door.

'You cunt! I'm gonna fuckin' fuck you up!' He attempted to push past me, at which point I was left with little choice but to restrain him. After several, desperate minutes, he thankfully began to calm down. I let him go and another member of staff eventually led him away.

After a cathartic chat with a colleague, a strong coffee, comforting nibble on a Garibaldi and cheeky, nerve-pacifying fag outside, I logged the incident and emailed my version of events to the head of behaviour management. I copied in Jackie, our Head. The following day I was called into her office to discuss the incident. We wouldn't be permanently excluding the pupil, she said, because you could interpret your actions as provocative. As a consequence, she continued, the exclusion wouldn't be upheld by the Board of Governors. Yes! You did just read that! You're not the victim of some hallucinatory, mind-altering episode that leads to nightmarish dystopian illusions. Apparently, according to our Dear, morally corrupt, Leader, it was my fault because I didn't move out of his way. I incited the attack.

Bless him...

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