I cried at work yesterday.
I’m an emotional person. I’ll cry at anything, nearly. I cried when Ugly Betty cried this evening, sobbed when the Princess kissed the Rebel, wailed when Dragons’ Den finished. Oh-so, I made that last one up, but I do get tearful quite a bit.
I’m a tad sensitive.
However, I also have a toughness about me. I need to wear a protective layer of steel in the position in which I work … without it I would be in tears four or five times a day. You can’t work with delinquent/disillusioned teenagers and not expect a torrent of [usually undeserved] abuse on a daily basis. Believe it or not I actually enjoy that aspect of the job. Maybe it’s because I’m the beat-up/bullied/annoying sister of three brothers. My wicked sense of well-timed sarcasm and my incredibly dry sense of humour obviously help in such situations as I can randomly twist anything the kids say and it just befuggles them, and sometimes makes them laugh; especially if they recognise that I’m being sarcastic.
[“Elizzybef, you do know that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, don’t you?”]
I’ve been driven to tears three times now in the place of my work. Time Number One was when STSSBSA tried to convince me that I didn’t fit in [that was two years ago now, and I have proved her wrong with very little effort on my part]. Time Number Two was back before Christmas, when a colleague [Miss Perfect] assumed something about me that was wrong, in a very absolute sense.
And Time Number Three was yesterday. And it was the first time a student has ever profoundly upset me, in nearly ten years of working in the educational setting. I should set the scene: a one-to-one session ‘teaching’ Maths, in place of the normal teacher who was on a course, with The Boy Who Had A Naughty Dog, who I usually teach one-to-one for English. His first grievance was that I’m an English teacher and so shouldn’t be teaching him Maths. I suppose that really I should really be flattered that he thinks I’m employed as a teacher, rather than a Teaching Assistant. But anyways, I explained the work and was able to help him with some difficult bits and then when I couldn’t explain one thing to him he went mad. Absolutely bonkers may be a better description.
“Prick, prick … you’re a prick … fucking idiot … prick … fucking prick … oh you fucker … idiot, idiot, idiot … fuck off … you’re really shit … fucking shit”, whilst stomping around the classroom trying to open locked cupboards and showing himself up to be a prick and an idiot.
It seems silly now. But other people who overheard say that he was being aggressive and making nasty, insulting and very personal comments. I think I’ve blocked some of it from my mind. But he walked out a few times for which we’re supposed to punish them, and if they do it enough then punishment should come from their own personal support worker, but she wasn’t interested, told me to send him home. “He won’t go if I tell him”, I said. And he didn’t which made me secure in my own knowledge of how they play the system. He called me a few more names whilst stomping around the hall, thought that he could stay, that other members of staff would say “Oh there there, Boy Who Had A Naughty Dog. We know you’re suffering and we think it’s perfectly fine for you to insult your elders, swear at them, make a total prat of yourself … you settle down and we’ll take you to McDonald’s [and don’t even get me started about that!] for the fifth time this week to show you that all we really want is to be your friend“.
I was angry. Very angry. And being very angry made me really sad. And being really sad made the tears fall, although I was well away from him before they did.
It’s not that I can’t cope in such situations. I’ve actually suffered far worse with other students, been in situations where I genuinely felt frightened and threatened, but this was probably a culmination of still being ill, being worried about where my job is headed [there is too much change afoot], being p!ssed off with the way different members of staff are treated by STSSBSA, and recognising that the lunatics are taking over the asylum [not just metaphorically]. What also didn’t help was that I usually have a fantastic relationship with this particular student.
I hope that I still have a fantastic relationship with this student. Monday will tell …
And in other news, The Blokey’s parents were burgled yesterday. This also made me tearful. And afraid. Very afraid.
please God bless me in my over-sensitive moments xxx Elsabeth