This afternoon I am sat in the Temple of Idiocy_ my own name for a place that has had its title changed from the Punishment Room to the Emergency Room to the Exclusion Room and finally to the Inclusion Room in order to remove the slightest suggestion that being sent there is in any way the fault of the pupil.
I cast my weary eye over the customers in front of me: 90% are familiar faces who spend more time in here than in their lessons, the others are hangers on, flirting with the edges of naughtiness.
Let's consider the front row; Safraz, a Somalian has constantly misbehaved for so long that I would actually be suspicious if he was to suddenly start being good. Yesterday he used the immortal line:
"Why should I do what you say?"
To which I replied that I couldn't think of any good reason why he should do what I said as he could do whatever he liked in school because the Head will never throw him out. Even if he attempted to, Safraz's parents need only turn up with a solicitor and cry 'Racism' and the Head will simply back down. Safraz thanked me politely for my advice but assured me that he already knew this, as his friend Faisal pulled off the same trick a couple of months ago.
Sitting to the right of Safraz, Liam was born without any brain cells and yet is dumped in mainstream education where we cannot (and frankly don't want to) cope with his nill attention span and constant shouting out, running about and production of animal noises. He needs to be regularly beaten with a stick and given a course in social skills. After all with social skills he could at least get some sort of job. At the moment he cannot talk to an adult at all without smirking, sniggering, glancing around or making a noise like a monkey. Unfortunately we have no plans to give him either his beating or his social skills, neither will his mother; therefore he will drift into petty crime, live on benefits or most likely both.
To Liam's right we have Sherry, who will undoubtably be pregnant soon because she has never been told that perhaps she should not have sex with every boy in year 9. That is not to suggest that the other years at our school contain any more suitable males for her to copulate with.
Lastly, may I introduce Dwayne. He is the most mature of the group and runs a successful business selling counterfeit DVD's and cannabis. He is quite able to hold a normal coversation (as long as the topic concerns illegal activity). His grasp of basic mathematics is good and he is quite capable of converting from Imperial to Metric weights. He also has a good grasp of fractions. I might suggest to the Head of Mathematics that we consider using drugs and counterfeit goods as a central part of the lessons.
There is a knock on the door followed by its immediate opening and another member of our client base arrives. His method of introduction is to shout 'I'm here!' in a dramatic fashion whilst grinning wildly and waving his hands in the air like a pop star (or a gibbon). This is rapidly followed by a greeting of 'Oh no it's him!' upon seeing me.
I chuck him out without a second thought and let the Special Needs assistant follow him in order to pander to his every whim.
It's a depressing place all right and it brings home to me the fact that we have deliberately let down every kid in this room. Their parents are useless; we are the only things standing between them and lives consigned to the Underclass; crime, drugs and prison.
Dwayne and co. have no respect for us at all and I don't blame them. We don't give them any reason to. Our punishments are a joke. 'Verbal warnings' that are ignored or openly laughed at. Written warnings that have no consequences. Endless second chances, 'Fresh Starts', 'Behavioural Contracts'; anything to gloss over our inaction.
We send letters home to parents who could not care less. Endless differently coloured Report Cards are given out, where bad comments have no significant effect. Detentions where non attendance is punished with another one which can similarly be skipped. One, two or three day holidays (sorry exclusions). It is all window dressing to make it appear that we are trying our best. In reality we are failing them miserably.
If you want to know what I'd do then buy my book (In fact buy it anyway, even if you couldn't care less what I would do!)