I am the new kid in the block - and don't I just know it. Year 11 never fail to remind me in their "subtle" subversive and downright rude ways. Today I just stood there whilst a couple of hulking 16 year old lads pratted about making silly noises and generally interrupting the class. I was wondering what exactly I should do. Once you've worked in one place for long enough, you gain a patina of age and with it a certain respect. And so you only have to give a certain look or have a quick word and the silliness quickly subsides. But when the kids have been in the school for four years longer than you, and they hate school, and they hate your subject, and by default they hate you, then it's all a bit trying. And then when you chastise them by whatever policies the school has in place, or you flick through your behaviour management tricks, they hate you even more for "picking on them".
Which is why today, with Year 11, I found myself just standing there wondering what I should do next. Because all that was going through my head was the almost overwhelming desire to yell and scream and swear in their faces, and it was really hard to suppress this and come out with a more measured and politically correct response. In the end I sent one to a different classroom to sit like a Goliath among the overexcited Year 7s next door, and had a "word" with the other one at the end of the lesson. But both of them were resentful and angry towards me for the way I treated them, which was not the shouty-in-their-faces screaming that I wanted to do, but instead the wholly expected school sanctions. There was back-chat and sulkiness, but I just wanted them out of my sight rather than get involved in any more of their arguments. And now I think of it, what right did they have to be resentful? The majority of the class, who do want to learn, should be resentful, and I maintain the right to be angry with them. After all, aren't I just trying to do my job?
But I can't even be bothered to be angry now the moment has passed. Instead I'm just very weary of it all. I can't afford to throw in the towel, which is the most tempting option, but the thought of a year or two of being tried and tested by spotty oiks is quite demoralising. And biting my tongue when I want to retort with expletives is not as easy as you might imagine when you have dozens of pairs of eyes watching for your reaction.