Friday, July 04, 2008

The Stand

Well I've been very quiet here lately (as I have been on all my blogs.) Thank you all for still popping by...

The truth is I have had no videogame news to tell, as I'm still grinding round the streets of Tokyo-to on my rocket powered roller skates. Yep I'm still plugging away at Jet Set Radio and haven't touched my Xbox or Wii since May.

So what can I tell you about? Well first of all there is which is a fun bit of a site where you can do silly bits of photo-shop type stuff with ease. It's where I did the Elderly wanted poster and the FK Hollywood sign which now graces the side bar.

I've just finished the best book I've read in ages, Stephen King's 'The Stand'. The tale of a government made plague ravaging the US and basically wiping out 99% of the population, King is a master story teller and the book has just kept me enthralled for all of it's 1300+ pages. Just before I finished it, I discovered that it had been made into a King scripted mini-series in the mid nineties. I bought the DVD off eBay and it's an excellent adaptation of the book. I've only watched the first part (there's four) but I'm going to get through it all this weekend (and continue on my JSR odyssey!)

Then there's work, which has contributed to my depleted blog output. For those of you who don't know, I'm a teacher, working in primary school (5-11 year olds) in inner city Manchester. My school is situated in my neighbourhood of Moss Side, famous (or infamous) in England for being full of guns, drugs and gangs.

Therefore, as you might imagine, we have (amongst the vast majority of good kids) a few bad apples. Kids who are seriously fucked up and whose behaviour is really bad. Some of them have mental health problems, psychological problems and some are just bad to the bone! That's where I come in. I've specialised in behaviour management for seven of the sixteen years I've been a teacher. My official job title is 'Lead Behaviour Professional' and usually I float around the school addressing incidents of confrontational and antagonistic behaviour, moving from class to class and supporting kids that are falling apart.

Phew! I've never got that deep or personal before have I? Well what I was saying, in a very round-about-sort-of-way, was that I've had that role taken away from me. For the three weeks remaining in school before the summer holidays, I've been given a class to take full time. This class has been falling apart, because they've been shat on by their teachers for the last two years. Both teachers, the one they had last year and the one they had this year, are on 'long term sick leave'. Neither one is actually ill, both are playing the 'sick' card, which within the English system, means that they can both receive six months full pay, as long as they've got a doctor gullible enough to sign them off.

OK! Where has that left the children? Well basically, fucked. These kids have little consistency or stability in their home lives. They need those two things when they come to school. It's been taken away. They are moody, depressed, volatile and fragile by equal measures. They fight (and I mean FIGHT) at the drop of a hat. They can't learn because they are constantly 'dissing' each other. Typical comment? "Go suck yer mum!" Charming isn't it?

So I'm with the 32 of them trying to educate and impart basic social skills for the whole school day. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a tough gig. This week, I abandoned the curriculum and we did 'Superhero Week'. We spent a week looking at Spiderman, Batman, Wonderwoman, the X-Men and so on. It all led up to them thinking up their own Superhero and writing about them for 45 minutes.

It worked! They wrote good stuff! Last week they couldn't even sit together and this week they sat in silence (listening chill out tunes) and produced work that was really, really good! On Monday I take 30+ of the 11 year olds camping for three days, and I get to escape the class from hell.

Spending three days away from home has never looked so appealing LOL!

Usually, my long posts fail to pull in the comments. If you want to hear more of my school life I'll tell you. I could do an entire blog about it. If not, it'll be business as usual. You decide!


Junlee said...

One of your best posts! :D

I always knew you were a teacher, but not THAT kind of teacher. It's people like you who get under-appreciated, because you really do a great service to society.

And these kinds of posts are always a nice change up, because it adds depth to a person who most of us have never actually met but still consider friends. :)

FUNNYMAN said...

I don't read books, so I can't make an inference regarding this blog post.

*Turns on the tv to watch women in bikinis*

blondejon said...

proud of you mate, someone has to give a fuck before this country totally goes to shit

Caleb said...

As a public librarian I kind of share your pain. When I worked in downtown Syracuse I had to deal with a lot of traditionally "bad" elements and nobody wanted to work in that library. Now I work in a much more rural/suburban community.

The Stand was a great book. I have read all of Steven Kings stuff. It's the Mcdonalds of literature. I can read a huge Steven King book in a remarkably small amount of time.

The only book I did not like was "Insomnia" where King seems to take a soft stance on psi-vampires (just drink blood for chi you pussies).

fatherkrishna said...

@ Junlee... why thank you my dear friend, that is a compliment indeed.

@ Funnyman. Can you stop being so non-committal? You must read books, you are a student for God's sake!

@ BJ... I too think this country is totally going to shit. Then I wonder if it always was and it's just our age catching up with us...

@ Caleb! thank you for coming here, hope it was worth you time...

I guess that means it's OK to tell y'all more about my daily grind...

Sonny Boy said...

Thanks for the post Father K. I found it valuable because it's a raw snapshot of life. I like the way you have been balanced by declaring early on that the vast majority of kids are good. (And I think the suggestion that the country is going to pot needs to be balanced with comments like that). The second reason that I like it is that it throws my own experiences into sharp relief and it's reassuring to know that there are other classes and teachers out there.

So I, for one, would gladly read more entries like this. Having said that, keep those witty game descriptions flowing too :)
Oh, and the music ones also.

So, in conclusion, er... keep doing everything ;)

Mikey4u1984 said...

I for one would like to read more on the subject. I got flashbacks and eerie feeling cause when I was young I met many kids like that, sad part is many kids start like that and never change, to see someone who actually cares and tries to make a difference is quite admirable and no easy task. I salute you FatherKrishna!!

NebachadnezzaR said...

What a remarkable post, Father. Really, it touched me to read of your struggle to make a positive impact in those kid's lives.

I can't say I know what it must be like where you live, because I've always lived in more or less quiet places, but when I was 14-15 I was in a class that was just totally fucked up, we were considered the worst class in the school by every teacher and they all had given up on us. Fortunately, from time to time, a teacher would come by which actually cared about us, understood us and forgot the curriculum because he knew that with us he had to work differently.

Actually, one of those teachers had a profound impact in my life, convincing me to change a very nasty habit about my behaviour, so I can totally imagine what you must be like for those kids.

Carry on, Father, you're doing great :)

Damn, I'm about to cry...

blondejon said...

the country is going to shit and the thatcher generation helped to take it there. Sadly you and I are part of that generation :(