Thursday, 13 May 2004

Top 5/Bottom 5 Kids

Is it "harp on about" or "carp on about", when you're talking about going on and on about something. A harp is a musical instrument and a carp is a fish, so neither make much sense to me.

I only ask because I was going to use it in my opening sentence. Which was, that many people harp/carp on about not being judgemental about people. But that, frankly, is bollocks. I'm very judgemental of people and proud of it. I judge people all the time. How the hell are you to make opinion if you don't exercise judgement?

Actually, maybe it's just goths and ex-goths and certain strains of hippies that go on about it. Either way, they're all wrong. Especially the goths who I really can't fathom out. Hippies, fair enough, they're just idiots, but goths deserve every moment of persecution they get, and they relish it anyway. I hate goths almost as much as the Swiss.

Anyway, all this is tangental/tangentoid to the point of this entry, which was about judgement and my judgement and rating of my children. One day I may make a full list of all my kids, in order of preference, though given I have about 120 in total this would have be a day or particular pointlessness and I hope I never actually resort to it. However, I have made a list of my top and bottom 5 kids, i.e. the kids I'd first send to their deaths should a firing squad insist upon five live targets, and the kids I'd make a token effort to save, should that unlikely scenario occur.

My bottom 5, therefore:

No. 5: Eddie, T1 class. Poor Eddie. As the teeth rot inside his mouth, the world charges on faster than he can comprehend. He sits in T1 class smiling aimlessly without a clue about what is happening. A podgy child, without charisma or brains, there's little that can be said positively about him, except that he's at least not infected with evil. I can't even feel sorry for him, because his presence just stirs a mild annoyance within, that I know is wrong, but can't help. And trying to explain even simple concepts can be a Herculean challenge. Poor Eddie.

No. 4: Kevin, Cosmos Class. Kevin is the director's son, and is on a totally different planet altogether. Not stupid, but is so permanently distracted that his productivity is a mere fraction of what it could be. He's about 7, wear glasses that hang from his face, has a continuously running nose, and can often be found staring ahead with his mouth agape. I wouldn't mind too much, but he's just so disruptive in class. He'll stand on his chair for no reason, or wander about to put something in the bin, and can't stay quiet. I can talk and talk at him and he's just completely unaware of my presence. Kevin is a very annoying child. But don't tell my director (I pretend to be nice to him when she's around...)

No. 3: Victor, M1 Class. Like Kevin, but one year up and one step up. Not stupid but all over the place. He will only work, pretty much, if I sit and watch him. I think he may also have a spinal problem as he is continually slumped on his desk with his head lolling about.

No. 2: Elliot, M8 Class. A loner without charm. Though sometimes associating with sullen Brian, 9/10 year old Elliot is the child equivalent of a pathetic homeless dog that nobody could ever love. He scowls and makes no pretence that English is not his favourite lesson of the day. Sometimes he's just moody and surly and I don't mind that so much, because at least he's not being a distraction and all I have to do is try to get him to do some work, but it's when he sets off kids like the hyperactive and grossly over-eager Robin, or starts annoying one of the girls, that he becomes a real pain. Occasionally his scowl mutates into a gawky buck-toothed grin, but for the most part he's just that scraggy stray dog that gets under your feet, until someone finally kicks the life out of it in a grotesque spectacle of man-defeats-beast.

No. 1: Annie, M7 Class (formerly of T4 Class): Fuzzy-haired, gangly, big-glassed Annie. Every day good honest people die from unfortunate and random incidents, and you just have to wonder why our good Lord above doesn't set one up for this screeching bane of my life. A crane toppling over, falling onto a stalagmite, or being kidnapped on mistaken identity and tortured horrendously with an iron. Alas, Annie still lives, and has managed 12 years so far. Initially she was quite funny, but the humour has soured, especially since I cracked down on that class and drummed grammar into them until they bled. Now she just talks and talks and talks, and when I say "Annie, quiet please," she looks at me as if persecuted like a Jew and screeches "Whaaat!?" in this harpy-like wail. On Monday I wrote the word "rude" in her book and told her to look it up at home. I doubt she did, but "rude" is the perfect word to describe her, I barely need to write anything else. My only hope is that now her class have merged with the likewise borderline too-cheeky M7, she might quieten a little, as was hinted at my her debut lesson there. Otherwise I am imploring God above to fire down upon her with almighty and possibly even unholy vengeance.

And here are my top 5.

No. 5: Ann, M7 Class. Amidst the cheekiness that emanates from M7 quietly sits the calm, happy and always helpful Ann. About 11 years old, Ann is a very pretty and friendly girl, who contributes well in class, works hard, has an excellent attitude and unlike most of her fellow classmates, never talks back. If every student was like Ann, teaching would be the easiest profession in the world. A real pity then such fresh and youthful good nature will inevitably sour as she passes through the stinking intestines of the rancid beast that is life, leaving just a dirty stain of a person in the end.

No. 4: Cindy, T3 Class. Must be about 10, though tall for her age, in a fun though demanding class of kids at beginner level English. Cindy is a clever and conscientious worker, but a very happy one with a lively sense of humour that contributes to the class without ever obstructing the smooth flow of the lesson. It was her and a friend, Cathy, who would crack up with laughter every lesson for about two months every time I said "monkey", which I developed into a deeply sounded "Mmunck-EH". It seems a shame that her bright spirits will be dashed by the many failures that life brings, until eventually left a shell with only memories of what fun and laughter once were.

No. 3: Eric, Ocean Class. A bright and very eager 5 year old from the marvellous Ocean class. His English is excellent for his age, and he picks things up easily, but his intelligence is matched by his good nature and enthusiasm. Well behaved, the only disiplinary flaws he displays are due to sheer excitement or competitiveness, but his anger is directed inwards and whenever he unwittingly hurts someone else, he immediately responds with a very cute "I'm sorry." But his intelligence and charm will surely only serve to corrupt him as he grows into an arrogant, nasty, controlling and bullying adult, hellbent with abusing his sick power over all those weaker than him.

No. 2: Ray, T1 Class. Ray must be about 8 or 9 years old and is in a class of pretty average ability, but one which is always energetic and entertaining to teach. Ray wins me over with his sheer determination and eagerness to get things right, and his genuine joy on his face when he gets a question right. Hard work is definitely paying off for him, and his boisterousness is always good natured as he doesn't haven't a malicious bone in his body. Alas, that hurt puppy-dog look in his eye he sometimes gets will only develop into a permanent and ever-raw scarring as life cuts him into painful pieces.

No. 1: Fiona, Ocean Class. Fiona is a delightful little girl of about 5. Bright and always happy, albeit unable to sit in her seat for more than 15 seconds straight, her English is good and she has a wonderful innocent enthusiasm. Most charming is when, about once a lesson, she'll say to me, unprompted, "Nev teacher, I love you." It seems a shame that age, experience, cynicism, bitterness, pressure and the hell of living will eventually destroy this lovely little girl and deform her into a wrinkled crone of misery.

That's the extreme spectrum of my kids then, which, to be fair, are on the most part very good. Even the bad ones aren't really a problem. They're just annoying. They're not fighting or kicking or biting me (not unknown).

I'm also considering promoting Luke to "best kid" as, aside from having vastly improved in the last couple of months, he (or his mother) gave me a present today for Teachers' Day on Saturday. A lovely gift wrapped present of shampoo and conditioner which will transform my already clean and slightly long hair into a golden beacon of sunshine.

When it comes to teaching, I'm as corrupt as can be. Presents will win favours. Today Luke got free candy and the pick of the questions to answer and whiteboard drawings.

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