January 19th, 2002


My students (2)

Z. is a couple of years older than his classmates are. While most just own a scooter, some have started driving lessons, Z. owns a car. Given the age, financial limitations and intellectual capacity of my students, you'd expect them to own something old, something small. Z. doesn't. He owns a Mercedes. Not just a Mercedes, a new one. And with everything to go with it. Judging on what I heard of some students who have driven home with him, only the added extra's and accessories of his car are more expensive than my own car. Last week we had a school excursion. Everybody went by coach, three buses full of students. He was entitled to go with his own car; he had something important afterwards and couldn't wait for the bus to leave. So there we drove on the motorway. 3 busloads of students and a big new Mercedes in-between them.

Z. is not the best student in class. He misses a lot of lessons, even when he's there, he's the prototype of the kid who doesn't do anything, has a laid back attitude, who like to be cool. With just a tiny difference. He can be cool. His car gives him status. Amongst teachers we laugh about us being the stupid ones, he must have some source of income that goes beyond our not even very low wages. Z. is always friendly, at least to me and several other teachers. His English teacher doesn't get the friendly treatment. His first oral was bad, he blamed her for wanting to drink coffee. Today I saw him leave the second oral. His face wasn't as friendly as usual. He swore big time, words not to be repeated. He flunked again. The day before the exam of my subject he came up to me and asked me what he really needed to learn. He did this in a semi-threathening way, the way you see in movies sometimes, faces closer to each other than necessary to communicate. I laughed in his face, the others laughed as well, so did he in the end. He plays with his attitude and tries to find out what he can get away with.

In my class the only time he showed some interest was when we were talking about South America. As soon as Colombia came up his classmates looked at him. The words street value and provider have been used in the same sentence as his name. But just knowing the capital of Colombia doesn't get you far in my class. His exam was useless. On a scale of 10, he scored a 1,1. If you spell your name correct, you score 1,0. Monday I will have to announce the scores to his class. Hopefully I stay in his good books, somehow he doesn't seem the kind of guy to mess with.