Friday, May 18, 2007

you're nobody 'til somebody loves you

molly's rose 2
Originally uploaded by etcher67.
It is five past nine, and I am standing in the middle of the classroom whilst year six mill about me. Most of them habitually ignore anything anyone says until it's been said at least three times and I am on the third and final time, the one where I use individuals names and start on the mildly sarcastic abuse: 'Hassan, I am pleased that you are trying to extend your vocabulary but really I'd prefer it if you read your book rather than look up rude words in the dictionary?' That sort of stuff. I am trying to get them into their chairs and me across the room so that I can take the register, something for which I have to have quiet, having been up past my bedtime the night before. I do not want a repeat of last Thursday morning when the secretary sent me a bemused note: 'Why has the afternoon been filled in already?' Because I was confused; that's why. I am easily confused. People are handing me notes and homework, telling me that they have left their packed lunch at home and can I ring their mum, asking whether they are allowed calculators for the SATs test they are about to take; and I am trying to keep an eye on the class' resident delinquent who for some unfathomable reason has a bandanna stuffed under his armpit inside his t-shirt. It's a normal morning.

Suddenly I am aware of something much lower down than one expects in year six, where most of the children are beginning to at least reach my shoulder. Something small, and wearing a very big pink hair decoration. Something holding two large, yellow roses. I look down. It's Lizzy from year three, pre-playground neat and looking up at me uncharacteristically quietly. She sort-of smiles, and holds up one of the roses.

'Is that for me?' I ask. She nods, thrusting the rose further forward. I take it from her. It is still wet from this morning's rain, pale yellow and blousy, and the scent coming from it is quite magnificent. It is a very very beautiful thing, and I am inordinately pleased to have been handed it.

'What did I do to deserve this?' I ask.
'You are a good teacher' she says, instantly injecting warmth into an otherwise dreary morning. I smile, and lean down to hug her. 'Thank you' I say, 'thank you very much.'

She slips out of the classroom and I go back to wondering what Gav plans to do with that bandanna.

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