The usual steady file of miscreants, no-hopers and just plain evil b*stards was drifting through my office. I got rid of these teachers by showing either complete indifference or pretending to be deaf. (Getting old has some advantages)
Then the students began to queue up outside.
It was the usual suspects. (Loved that film)
- Kids who had forgotten their ties (We run a quite strict uniform policy)
- Kids who had forgotten their shoes.
- Kids who had no intention of ever following any rule made by anyone.
- Stoned kids.
- Gang kids.
- Beaten kids
- Abused kids.
- Plus the just plain weird.
|I see, you want to be a punk elephant. Weird.|
Then a teacher for whom I have a lot of respect turned up with a request. Three of his girls were having a particularly nasty bitch-fest, and he asked me to talk to them.
I called the three girls to my wee office and began the dialogue, (quadalogue??). We had reached the point where it was obvious that it was a basic problem.
It was the problem we professionals call the "Teenage Girls Being Bitchy to Each Other" and I had just started to discuss this with the girls when I got a phone call from our school office staff.
A pupil (they thought) was running around school with a gun (they thought) and would I do something about it? NOW.
There were times over the last double handful of years that I've regretted leaving the Army.
This time I regretted leaving my flak jacket and my SLR.
|My real friend|
Actually, thinking about it now, it could have been really dangerous. Imagine what would have probably happened in the USA in a similar scenario. We'd have armed police/swat there in minutes, and probably the principal would have opened the gun cabinet for the selected teachers appointed as defenders.
|Go ahead, make my day.|
I cautioned the girls to stay in my office, keep the door locked and DON'T break any of my computer equipment or rip each others' faces off, then I left to investigate.
I had a fair idea of who it might be. Probably one of our Special Needs kids, and I was about 95% sure it was a fake gun. This young chap also liked to run around school with various self-made martial implements duct-taped to his arm. Just don't ask, OK?
I started the tour of the school, but didn't spot him anywhere. I did however spot one of my colleagues with some kids down at the basketball courts, and I walked over to make him aware about the possible danger.
I had just started to talk to him, but we both fell silent as a horrendous noise grew all around us.
It was a grinding crunching noise, almost like a slow-motion bomb going off.
Then the ground began to move. I was standing in the middle of the asphalt playing surface, and I could see it moving.
|Not quite as bad as this|
Instinctively I moved into a more stable position, my left foot going forward as I shifted my weight back over my right foot and put my arms out to help keep my balance. The ground was still moving, a definite side-to-side movement was now evident, as well as a distinct wave motion.
Some of the kids had fallen down, many were screaming and from all round the school we could hear the rising roar of many childish voices in full-blown panic mode.
The quake seemed to go on and on, but in reality it only lasted about 30 seconds.
All the staff acted together to manage the semi-hysterical kids, and finally we got them all shepherded out of school, and on their way home. We were still getting frequent aftershocks as I headed back to my office, where I found the three girls still in their chairs, but there were two of our office staff standing outside it, looking concerned.
They explained that there had been so much screaming coming from my office that they had become concerned, and went to see what new atrocity TSB was inflicting on the students, but just saw three hysterical girls clinging to each other and screaming their heads off.
I settled the girls down and sent them home and I could see them walking away, still holding onto each other. It's strange to see how major events tend to put the minutiae of life in perspective. Silly girls.
It was the next week, as I was starting to introduce my advanced computing class into the intricacies of writing code in a relational database form to perform calculations that one of the boys said:
"You were cool when the earthquake was on Mistah"
"We saw you on the courts Mistah when the quake hit"
"Oh yes, but why is that cool?"
"You had a great big grin on your face Mistah, and you were surfing the quake" "It looked real cool"
I could have explained that the reason it looked like I was surfing the quake, was purely me moving into a posture of maximum stability, with my hands out for balance.
I could have explained that the "big grin" was more of a rictus of terror.
I could have said I wasn't cool.
I just smiled and shrugged deprecatingly and said "Yeah"
I can imagine the stories as they grow over the years. Mistah TSB, the Richter Surfer.
It was cool.
|I is a cool dude.|
PS The three girls were back in my office again last week, with some more crap about she said, he said, it's on facebook so it must be true, I hate her, I wish she was dead etc.
I wonder if I could arrange for another earthquake?
I wonder if I could arrange another earthquake and get ALL our problem girls together?
Ah well, a man can dream.