Mon 23rd Feb, 2009:
Instead of shrinking, my 11 Social class has increased to 30 – well, at least for the moment. I take a look at the online roll this morning, and see that everyone’s still on it, with the exception of Candy (who’s been transferred to the new class), and there are two extra names as well.
But when I get to class, there’s Candy sitting there as happy as can be. And mysteriously, her name has appeared back on my class list.
I laugh, and say to her, “First your name was taken off the roll, now it’s on again.”
“I know, Miss,” she says. “I had a fit when I found out I wasn’t in your class anymore – I cried. I said, you can change any class except this one, please don’t take me out of my favourite class.”
I had no idea she’d become so attached. I’m quite touched by it. “Who did you tell?” I ask.
“I told the Dean,” she says. “Mr Roberts. I was really upset, I was crying, and he sorted it all out for me.”
I can’t guarantee the lines won’t change again, but I’m happy to have everyone still alongside me today. The year 11’s are currently my ‘easy’ class, despite the big numbers. What makes it so is that the very kids who you wouldn’t expect to, have found it a congenial place to be. That makes it fun for me, too – it’s like a secret, an unexpected oasis. But the other interesting thing is that the other kids seem to have caught onto it as well – it’s kind of like everyone’s got their little space there, or has some way of feeling let in on it. And that’s why it’s cool. It expands out, it doesn’t feel like there’s a barrier there to anyone. Candy for example, feeling like it’s ‘her’ class. And I wish I knew how to keep it this way. Right now it feels like I’m performing a magic trick that I haven’t practiced enough, and which still might fail.
Tuesday 24 February:
It’s funny, how sometimes the most important things can just be introduced with no fanfare.
This afternoon Marjorie mails me to cover a year 10 class during my free period. On the way up, I walk past a relief teacher with one of the new composite year 11 classes. He’s taking the roll (rather ineffectually), but I don’t have time to stop.
After a couple of minutes I hear a voice softly calling, “Miss… Miss?” and someone comes quietly up the stairs: Nio. He has a wistful look in his eyes, and I go out to him.
“Miss,” he says again, unhappily, “Can you come downstairs? Can you swap – you could come down, and that reliever could go to your class.”
“Sorry, Nio, I’m not allowed to do that,” I say, adding, “Shouldn’t you go back to class now?”
“I don’t like that class, Miss,” Nio persists. “That reliever’s soft – he’s like a girl. He just let me out.”
For a second he just stands there, looking a little bit defeated. Then he sighs, whisks out his pen, and does a quick light tag on the stair rail.
“Nio…” I say, affectionately.
“Sorry Miss,” he replies, smudging it over.
A boy named Taurangi is there in class. He was in my year 9 class last year – and I just really do like this boy, who’s so quiet and watchful. I chat away to him for a couple of minutes, while he replies in his usual minimalist style.
“Tau, you’re being very communicative today,” I say, just teasing him, and he smiles, settling back in his chair and raising his eyebrows.
“Non-verbal communication,” I add, and he grins.
I’m not really even trying to chit-chat, just somehow to let him know that I remember him and care.