Expectations…

It’s the end of the year. And like most teachers at the end of the year, I got sick. After three-and-a-half days in bed, I went to the doctor, and I was diagnosed with bronchitis. This made me feel a bit less like a malingerer, and more like a genuinely sick person. I’m now on fairly strong antibiotics – I can’t go out in the sun (so I am now a coughing vampire), can’t lie down after I’ve taken them for a few hours and feel slightly stoned. I keep talking rubbish (well, more rubbish than normal) – forgetting words, mixing up sentences. But I’m getting better.

I was back in a school on Monday where the kids are a bit tricky. I maybe shouldn’t have gone back to teach that day, but I was getting bored at home (I’m a terrible patient). My voice was a bit croaky, and I was still coughing enough to give myself a headache. But I went. In comes year 6. They haven’t been very well-behaved at the moment. I feel sorry for most year 6 kids at this point in the year. They are going off to high school, so everything will be changing. There’s lots of hormones racing around their bodies…. Not a place I’d like to be. So a lot of them are teary, or nervous, or angry. Nearly all of them are worn out, so they are slightly hysterical.

The conversation I had went like this…. “So, year 6. I am sick. I’m pretty worn out, and I don’t want to be cranky with you. I’ve loved teaching you, especially this year, and I don’t want to finish by having to be grumpy. If you don’t want to be here, you can go to kindergarten. You won’t get into trouble – I just don’t want to battle with you.”

Pause.

No-one moves.

So I continue with the lesson. It’s one of the nicest lessons I’ve had with them for a while.

At the end a number of them come up to me “Feel better soon, Rachel!” “See you next week!” “Have a good rest!”

These are kids who are naughty. They get into trouble. Right-wing radio shock-jocks would call them scum. And yet, when they are treated like grown-ups, they are lovely. They are kind. They are considerate. They do their best.

Everybody lives up to the expectations that are placed on them, don’t you think?