January 25th, 2002


My students (3)

There are four of them, they are inseparable. And they know I like them, they are clever enough to use that knowledge. It wasn't like that from the beginning. L.'s face turned red every time I told the class something she didn't like. Her anger is always easily detectable. A. was happy enough to tell the world about her hometown. On top of one of the schoolbooks she only needs a very little bit of white to draw a map of the town. I have played football there, which makes her happy. Not many people even know the place. She promised she would be there the next time I play an away match there. M. is the smartest of the four. She has dyed her hair red, always has an opinion, but only sometimes feels the need to tell it. The last one is J. She will never win a miss election, but her appearance will always draw attention. She was born in the same place as I do. Since a couple of years she started playing softball, her boyfriend plays baseball. After she found out that I am a baseball nut she brings up the subject whenever she doesn't feel like doing anything in class. She knows I find it difficult to ignore a discussion about the World Series. We live in a country where 9 out of 10 people wouldn't even know which sport were talking, when the World Series are on.

Together the four of them usually sit in the back. They talk, laugh, giggle like small girls and make fun of me on a bad hair day. And I just can't be mad at them. Off course I tell them to go to work, like I do with all the others, but somehow the effect isn't the same. Not that they don't do anything. At home, in their own time, they make sure they are ahead of schedule. Unlike others in the class. Which is one of the reasons they can get away with more than others. I shouldn't, I know, but that's how it is.

Once I started a lesson with telling everyone that the following persons weren't welcome: those without books, those with the wrong books, those ignoring school rules (no hats, coats, food or drinks in the class), those who hadn't done their homework and those who didn't want to participate properly. The four of them looked at the board, read, asked for an exception and left after being denied the exception. They laughed in the corridor. Others were angry and hated me since, only 2 out of 29 were allowed in that day. The next lesson everyone had the correct book, most had done their homework, school rules were obeyed. But only these four were way ahead of schedule. They had done so much, they could just sit in class for a week without doing anything. I had no way of correcting them anymore.

I have changed schools since. Sometimes I wish I had a group like them in my new classes. It makes teaching so much more enjoyable. My footy match in A.'s town was cancelled because of bad weather last december.