Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Well it has been another one of 'those' days in the madhouse that is work. I spent a large block of time walking a young pupil around the school while she scribbled a rambling stream of unrelated phrases on the back and front of A4 pieces of paper, tore them off the pad, screwed them up and started another page. All this whilst walking and intermittently talking to me. Given a recent over-enthusiastic 'Step' injury to my foot/ankle, it is the most exercise I have had in a week.

She argued with herself, raged in a contained but very disturbing manner and told me multiple times that I wouldn't understand what was going on in her head. She threatened violence, claimed she didn't know why she was behaving in this manner and made intermittent references to her biological family, the way they'd let her down and how she thought she might be insane but that she was actually quite used to it by now so what did it matter?

In the end, I wasn't able to really get to the bottom of her distress and anxiety and once we returned to the classroom after lunch she became more agitated again. I manoeuvred a hand over to the school counsellor and later heard that she had done a runner and secreted herself on an out of bounds balcony. At least she didn't leave the property.  I wondered if I should have stayed with her but rationalised that she was known to the counsellor and that seriously, I was pretty much out of my depth with that level of mental health disorder. Mind you, so was the counsellor, apparently.

After writing up a hasty and harried recount of events I finished off my teaching day and prepared for the evenings entertainment: parent teacher interviews.

We are an R-12 school which means we have various faculties with their own customs and traditions around parent/teacher interviews. Usually, the Primary (Elementary/Junior school) teachers meet parents in their themed, child centred classrooms with a tray of the pupil's work to pore over for about 10 minutes before chatting in depth about the amazing progress Suzie has made in her reader levels. Parents wait on tiny chairs outside in the corridor and I sit in my lovely colourful Special Ed room and pick up passing trade. So to speak.

When the Secondary (High School) interviews are held, they fill the Performing Arts Centre with rows of tiny desks, a teacher's chair on one side and two subservient parent chairs facing you on the other. An acrylic photo frame containing your title, printed out in a welcoming font such as Colonna MT, faces toward the already uncomfortable Mr and Mrs Brown, who have really just come to see if Johnny has stopped faking that hamstring injury in PE. A timer counts down and you are permanently behind as you attempt to solve the problems of adolescence in 10 minutes flat.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you view it, I have to take part in both these events.
Usually they are on separate nights.

This year someone decided we would kill two birds with one stone. Primary would do their warm, fuzzy thing upstairs in their classrooms and the Secondary team would wait nervously behind tiny islands of desks in the voluminous cavern of the PAC awaiting the inevitable 10 minute tirade on their incompetence before being reminded that God is love....All fine, except for me.

I am one of two teachers who work across the two schools. The other is a language teacher and no-one ever wants to see her (I'm sorry but it's true and it's a damn shame because she works jolly hard and does a jolly good job! But there you have it). I, on the other hand, spent the evening sprinting from one building/setting to the other on my increasingly puffy ankle (ref para 1). I blame the online parental interview booking system!!!!! In the past I could take requests for interviews and with some negotiation, group similar interviews together in short blocks of time. This year, the computers took over and parents determined the time of their interview! Can you imagine?

Chaos :-D

This is not the only chaos in my life, but it's all I can manage for now xxxx.

image credit 2

1 comment:

MissKate said...

An excellent post but a very disturbing picture up the top. Where on earth did you find it? It did, however, illustrate your point perfectly I was just happy to scroll down the page. Hope the ankle's feeling better!