Once upon a time

Tuesday 23 November, 2010:

Kids are already coming to ask me about project week: word has obviously started to get out among the fraternity. Libya is mentioned to me several times as well, as in: “Did you ask Faze about painting?” and, “Is Faze helping you?” I feel sure now that I’ve spoken to the right person. Information is being disseminated, which is exactly what I hoped would happen.

However, I have to keep reminding myself that some of the other teachers in my group probably won’t even approve of the graff activity. I’ll have to plan it pretty tightly, and maybe even get some year 11’s in for can check. I better sort the details out soon.

It’s good to have something to focus on – I feel too quiet if I’m on my own. Simple actions keep that feeling at bay. And I’m still patient, because there’s nowhere else to go. Nothing to reply to yet. Nothing but watching, for now.


Wednesday 24 November, 2010:

Leroi’s back from his stand-down. His eyes flicker as he says to me softly, “And Tau hit Shae.” He repeats, “He hit Shae… again.”

“Oh,” I say, coming around to sit beside him. I just ask, gently, “Is it the first time since – that other time you told me about?”

“I think so,” says Leroi.“ She wouldn’t do what he asked, so he started smacking her around the head. His dad tried to stop him, but he didn’t listen. And then Scott just said, Well, it’s their relationship.

We sit and look calmly at one another, knowing that it’s alright to talk about this, and that it isn’t spoken of lightly. We both see it’s important, and we don’t know what to do. But we don’t lie about it, anyway.


Thursday 26 November:

I get an email from Hamida (the exam coordinator). It says how much she appreciates all the effort I’ve gone to with derived grades, when there are teachers who haven’t kept the scripts from midyears, and others who haven’t recorded their grades anywhere and so she hasn’t been able to enter the data. And without the evidence in both electronic and hard copy, there’s no way of satisfying the Ministry.

And I admit I feel a little bit of: Oh yes! – when I see that she’s cc’d the DP’s in as well. I always like it when I get a bonus credibility boost with someone further up the hierarchy. Because as sure as night follows day, I know that somewhere round the corner there’ll come a time when I need to manoeuvre myself some leeway with the management. And the only way to succeed in that kind of hustle is to have done things by the book on many, citeable, previous occasions.

13 History have their exam this afternoon, and most of them turn up; I wish them good luck as they go in. Hamida says, “Thanks for coming,” in a tone which implies many teachers haven’t. My rep with her is quite high, just now. And she’s a good woman – she ruffles a few feathers, but not mine. I actually do like her, in a way that I can handle. I can do the right things, and kind of mean them, and yet I feel at a kind of remove from it all the same.

And I feel like that all day. Nearly everything I do is tinged with a degree of acting a believable role. I do it with relative ease, and a little bit sadly; I see it for what it is. I’ve been playing for keeps, this whole time, and I ain’t going back. And seeing that, I feel kind of weary.

I get tired of the game when nothing seems to happen. Some days it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. But I’m… sincere. And this allows me to play, despite knowing I could lose.


Friday 26 November:

Busy, hard, emotional day. Things touch me and catch me; and still make me glad I’m here.


It’s Dimario’s last day at school, ever. He comes to the 12 History exam, and afterwards we just talk a while. Layton and Jack are there too, at first. But then they leave us to speak on our own.

So I say to him, “Well, Dimario… you just be good.” He gives a little smirk, and we stand there in the sun, looking at one another. His face assumes its best disdainful and ironic expression. “Don’t sneer!” I tell him, and he starts to laugh. People are walking past to class on either side, and I feel anchored there with him, in that little patch of grass in between.

I say, “I’m gonna miss you Dimario. It’s been great working with you.”

“You too, Miss,” says Dimario. “I won’t forget you.”

“I won’t forget you either,” I say. We just stay there for a few more minutes, with the sun shining down on us.

And I say goodbye to Dimario the observer – mon frère, mon semblable.


Later I dream that I’m angry with 9 Social, and push a table over. And I yell at them and then try to read them a story from a big book: “Once upon a time…”


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