Solidarity

Sunday, 20 September 2009:

For two days after the dream, I’m hot, aching, sick and feverish. I try to rest, just getting up for water a few times. I don’t want food – all I want is water. My feet are hot – the soles of my feet are on fire – and my shoulders are aching, and I feel like I’m full of boiling water: tears that sizzle and bubble but don’t escape. And I need to get up and drink more water.

Then I cry some actual tears. They arrive quietly, with hardly any preamble. And they don’t last long. Water in – tears out. Maybe that’s how it works.

 

Monday, 21st September:

My frustrating, rebellious, maddening  year 10’s are in fine form today, especially Levi, who can barely, barely bring himself to observe the least of everyday pleasantries. But eventually manages to – amazing both me and himself.

Afterwards I’m drained. Thank God for Simeon and Aperamo, both of whom – fortunately for me – honour the principles of restraint.

I wearily decide not to make pastoral notes on the ‘Levi’ incident. He’s dicing with something which is, surprisingly, starting to make a fraction of sense to me – and logging it on the database just won’t be an adequate response.

 

Before Levi even gets to class, Noa comes to my door. “Can I stay with your class today?” he asks politely.

“No, go to Hospitality,” I suggest, but he implores: “Ohh please couldn’t I just come in?”

I say, “Alright then,” and he goes in.

Then Levi arrives, and immediately begins hurling his basketball against the wall in the block.

I go out to him, and he says in a quietly threatening tone, “Why is there someone in our class who isn’t supposed to be in our class?”

I actually look surprised, cos Noa is one of Levi’s best mates. But Levi repeats, through his teeth, “Why… is… there… someone… in… our… class… who’s… not supposed to be… in our class?

“Ok, just hang on,” I say, soothingly.

 

I go back in. “Noa, sorry – probably best to go to Drama today, ok?”

“Oh, Miss,” says Noa, crestfallen.

“I know – but best to go aye. Cos Levi’s all upset about something.”

Levi is?” says Noa, in amazement. He follows my gaze out to the block.

“Why?” he begins, and then he goes out, and so do I. Levi and he greet one another without animosity; they slap hands. Noa says, “I’m off to class,” and Levi replies, “Sieg Heil,” (like the good Mob prospect he is). And he glares at me and strolls in.

 

Inside, he sits down and announces, “I wanna finish my assessment.”

“Well, seeing as you never started it, it’s a bit late for that now,” I tell him, not unkindly, just being straightforward.

“Then I wanna do it,” he insists.

“Well, you won’t have time to,” I reply.

He sneers at me and puts his middle finger up. I ignore this and turn away to someone else.

And Levi storms out of the room, up the stairs, and out the automatic doors at the top.

 

The rest of the class are waiting with relative patience, but their minds have already roamed far and wide. I settle them down, and start them off on track again.

Around half are putting the finishing touches to their assessments. Some are done already, like Simeon and Aperamo, and so I have a second group to actually ‘teach’.  And then down comes Levi, back in the door and across to his seat – glaring and brooding.

To my considerable surprise (and relief), he rejoins the class, even managing to proffer his opinion during discussion. I’m polite to him, and trying to be gentle. Because for some reason, Levi, when he takes great offence, doesn’t even really like the one trick pony approach, but it’s all he’s got and he falls into it spectacularly easily – his familiar routine. What he desires is something I don’t easily understand. Beneath his smoldering rage is a deep sense of grievance, which only tangentially pertains to me at all.

He’s hard, hard work, and I can’t deal with him using the normal channels. It doesn’t make sense to record Levi’s outbursts as ‘Attitude Concern’ – well of course it’s a frickin’ attitude concern. But that just doesn’t cut it, it doesn’t. He’s aggrieved by what he sees as unfairness all around him, and he’s so damn right, really. It’s all just a load of shit, and he knows it, and so he happens on any example  to use and so demonstrate this to himself. Even Noa being allowed in, or kids finishing the assessment when he can’t… layered upon the many other examples from his life and times: at school, out of school. And I think all I am to Levi just now is a representative of that towering wave of unfairness which crashes around him all day long.

And that’s why I don’t write a pastoral comment, not that I expect him to appreciate or even realise this – but I just don’t, can’t, never will. Cos I think Levi is so staunch, he’ll fight all the way down – and that much I do understand. And in my way, by not recording it, I acknowledge that glimmer of understanding – even if it only affects me and he’s oblivious to it, what does that matter? It’s, I don’t know… it’s all I can offer: solidarity of one kind or another.

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