Wednesday, August 08, 2007

things that happened to me a couple of fridays ago when i did some relief teaching

1. i had to wear a headscarf. i chose to wear it in the most islamic manner possible. for am i not so pious?

2. i had to call in a man for reinforcements, and have two of my grade 3 boys removed. yes, he had a beard and no, he didn't look at me. no wonder, the scarf, the scarf. they work, dear friends. they stop the men from acting upon their baser desires. heck, they stop men from even having baser desires. they probably strike them impotent with one peripheral glance.

did i just write heck?

it's the shadow of the scarf. i can't even swear while i'm writing this post.

3. when they were doing prayers before lunch (it was friday), some boys were headlocking each other and i flapped at them shrieking have some respect for your religion! and had to break up the rumble physically.

4. no one talked to me in the staff room. or should that be scarfroom. they could see right through me. for am i not an infidel?

5. when i arrived and signed in at the office, i said to the women there:

i might need some help with my scarf

she turned around and inspected me. i tried to look pathetic. it wasn't hard.

no, yours is perfect. I'M having a bad scarf day.

[mutual laughter]

6. i went into the ladies bathroom about 6 times to check my scarf. almost every time the knot had slipped around up somewhere near my ear.

7. i look really, really ugly in a scarf.

8. the kids were looking at the photo id i was wearing around my neck.

miss, miss, who's this?

it's me.


that's me without glasses and not wearing a scarf.

silence and incomprehensible looks.

god knows what they were thinking.

9. the only time, the only time, i had a semblance of control over the class was when i read them the rabbits, by john marsden, ILLUSTRATED BY SHAUN TAN. they got it too.

10. taking the kids out for some sport, i lost half of them between the classroom and the basketball court. they didn't turn up for 15 minutes.

11. i couldn't hear properly cause of the scarf. this was not good.

12. while they were mostly shits with no discipline and absolutely no sense of behaving properly in the classroom, they were also just little kids who struggle to learn in a really disrupted environment, and lots were somalis and i figured maybe they had experienced stuff that made school, and sitting on the mat doing tables, a fairly hard thing to do.


Chai said...

What would be the solution? More teachers?

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MelbourneGirl said...

oh my god, first junk mail in months.

chai, i don't know what the solution would be. i don't even know what the problem is, if there is one. i was just writing about my experiences that day and how they seemed pretty way-out to this non-religious, eastern-suburbs, private-school-educated white girl.

Eleanor said...

Wow. I was upset before, and then I started reading blogs. I read John Marsden's, and then I read Margo Lanagan's, and then I just strated randomly following links to other blogs, and it's been ages since I've done that.

It's so incredible, all these people sharing their stories with the world. I'm living with my Aunt in Melbourne at the moment, and she has this big prejudice about blogs. She thinks they make people vulnerable because of a lack of privacy and goes on about how stupid people who blog are. She's so wrong.

I think they do so much- the connections you can make with people are just... well, you know what I mean (I have one too, only I don't use blogger). And they're good for practicing writing, too.

The city can be so lonely, the way people pretend to ignore each other. But all you have to do is find some blogs, and it makes you realise there are good people out there, and they're not immune and oblivious to the people around them.

What I wanted to say was, I really like the way you write. Thank you for being a nice person. I'll probably see you one day and neither of us will realise. Isn't that weird?