Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Walking target: an apple for the teacher

All teaching staff have been issued with fluoro vests. These must be worn when one is on yard duty. I've already written about yard duty/aka fruit watch. Well, I'm on duty in the same area this year

'Prin Class', as it likes to be known, has added to our pleasure by increasing our visibility whilst we're on patrol. Suppose this helps the friend of the kid who's having an anaphylactic reaction to find me in a crowd.
Teachers do compulsory anaphylaxis training annually. A good thing. As a parent, I'd want to know that teachers knew first aid in this event. I'm not knocking it.

But as a teacher on duty, I'm highly visible anyway, given I'm in my mid-fifties - albeit with dyed hair. Perhaps I could be mistaken for a dumpy, jowly girl with a dowager's hump? Oh, hang on. I'm not wearing a school uniform. I'm possibly going to be visible as I amble around the yard with my tongs and beatific smile. As I've previously written, kids easily find me when they want someone to hide behind when another kid's chasing them.

Yesterday I experienced my second real assault, in 32 years of teaching. I'm naming the beast. It was an assault. I may be mistaken, but I think my fluoro vest turned me into a target. As I walked through my little slice of the danger zone I was pelted, at close range and with considerable force, by a 'projectile'. I'm reluctant to say it was a piece of fruit cos it sounds so freaking benign and ridiculous.

That apple for the teacher really hurt, so much so that tears sprouted on impact. I turned to see who'd thrown it but just faced a row of hefty 'innocent' year 10 boys, none of whom I teach. Had I known them, it wouldn't have happened.

I was unable to take any retributive action against the culprit, who simply had the delight of seeing he'd hit his target and that his target was really angry and hurt. What a hero.

I went in search of a fluoro vested colleague. Lucky he was wearing it cos I'd never have identified him by the business attire, tongs - de rigueur for prin class on duty - and sun glinting off his bald pate.

He bawled out all the kids in the area, but basically they got away with it. Trouble is, you can't identify your assailant (and issue a 5 day suspension) when it hits you from behind. And of course, none of the kids saw anything.

I felt like packing in teaching. Had I driven to school, instead of cycling, I would have taken the rest of the day off. I was shaky and profoundly hurt by the incident. In my time I've stepped between warring boys and grabbed them by the shirt-fronts, narrowly avoiding being clouted in the process. But that's not about me. I don't think yesterday's incident was particularly about me either. I was just 'generic teacher'.

My assault yesterday was about disrespect. Made it really hard for me to teach my year 9s and 10s for the next two lessons. But I'm okay now. I got to document it on Edusafe, so everything's all right, isn't it? I've got my day off to get over it.

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