My morning started out just fine, with my favourite class, senior Italian a joy as usual. However, my better nature left me for Grade 9 Religion and didn't return for Grade 8 Italian. I was just nasty, and so were they.
I was afraid the worst was yet to come, with my double Community Assistance lesson. Eight of our kids are buddied with intellectually disabled adults, doing various activities on campus. In the past these lessons have been a pleasure and there's only been one student who didn't really seem to engage. This term's students, however struck fear into my heart. I had seen the roll the week before and recognized far too many names. Among these eight boys were the ones I always hear about in the staffroom, getting into trouble, slacking, arguing, rebelling, the list goes on. I pictured dealing with eight ratbag 15 year old boys as well as protecting the safety and dignity of our guests.
With trepidation I set up the craft activity in our room and went in search of the boys. Lo and behold there they were, in the parking lot, right where they belonged. How many times had I heard them being paged because they were in the wrong spot at the wrong time, or just in the wrong in general? Here they were waiting for our Endeavour guests with no prompting from me.
We only had time for a quick compliment and a couple of questions before the bus pulled up.
Strapping, hairy boys gently shook fragile, truncated, twisted hands. They smiled and introduced themselves before pairing with a buddy and walking towards our room.
Throughout the hour we had together, they showed initiative-- 'Miss, we've finished. Can we draw now?', sensitivity-- 'Do you want to do it or me?', tolerance,-- 'That's OK.', and kindness-- 'Yes, we are good mates, you and me.' They were helpful and willing and my heart filled with hope and joy as we walked together back to the bus.
Returning to the room we tidied up and debriefed. They asked thoughtful questions and had good suggestions for future activities. I once again complimented them on their excellent behaviour.
Then the bell rang and they ran out, despite me calling after them to help me carry boxes to my desk. And my faith in boy-kind was restored.