I’ve been having a few randomly retrospective thoughts about some of my classes – something which I suppose all ex-teachers do, especially if they’re in their educational dotage like me and prone to wandering off in mental flights of fancy into the undergrowth of the past. Small schools are better than large ones. Small classes are better than large ones, because in both cases, you get to know the student body very well, even those that you don’t come across in class, and also because, by default, the student body gets to know you as well. Not the cardboard cutout , the squeaking posturer, the Nazi of discipline, but the momentary you, the you that has been released to be human rather than the ironclad disciplinary machine, grinding the quadratics till the pips squeak and to hell with mixed metaphors, the laggers, slackers and irremediably stupid. Which tends to cause one to teeter towards “favouritism”. Like “racism”, “sexism” , “elitism” or any of the other “isms” in which the PC thought police love to entrap us, having a favourite means that you’re BAD.
What total eyewash.
I have a favourite shirt, pair of shoes, cologne, even day of the week, but because my favourite is animate, it is no longer appropriate to admit to having it. All my students fell, I suppose, into three categories: favourite, not favourite and “meh”. Categorisation of these students was entirely subjective, as changeable as British weather and often spectacularly random. Admitting to such behaviour in school is like mooning in front of a crowd of Grade 10’s – not really recommended. I’d confess in private if I had to, but I’d rather be caught stealing the office manager’s stash of Nespresso capsules than be accused of treating students differently depending on their current ‘favourite’ status. That sort of thing would make me the kind of shoddy, attention seeking pseud that people complain to their therapist about. Even having a non-favourite has a certain masochistic charm about it. Oh, yes. You know who you are.
My Grade 9’s decided to smart up for Graduation, some in full evening dress. It was decided that we’d have an ‘aviator moment’ – they always were quite an enterprising group. I hoped that they were happy that it was the end of the semester and not that we were parting company. They gave me more trouble than some and more joy than most. Farewells were genuine and heartfelt. I am going to miss all of them.