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2006-01-31 - 9:12 p.m.

*Long Entry Warning*

Right on cue, that 4-weeks-in-and-I'm-dead illness has hit me and I'm sitting at home, schnirfling into piles of tissues, having admitted after two days of teaching beween sneezes that I really need to give up and get better. Tomorrow I'm abandoning my new class to a supply teacher and staying in bed.

It occurred to me that this would be an ideal moment to update my diary, and it then occurred to me that once again I've left it so long at such a significant time that I'll never manage to fit everything in. I think, instead of describing a day at a time, I'll do some entries taking a child at a time, so that you can get a picture of the characters I'm surrounded with every day.

There's an Indian boy in my class. He was new to the school last term, and nobody double-checked his age before placing him in the same year group that he came from in his Indian school. Unfortunately, Indian schools do year groups differently, so he should be in year two. They're not going to move him at this stage, so he stays in my classroom (sometimes) happily oblivious to the fact that he's whole two years younger than the oldest children in the class. In a mixed year group, that's a really significant age gap.

It's not helped by the fact that George (I'm going to call him George. He does have an extremely English name for an Indian boy, but it isn't really George) has English as a second language. He calls me 'Mr Robinson' in his wonderful accent with the rolling Rs, and cannot be persuaded that female teachers aren't called Mr. Occasionally he just calls me 'teacher', espacially when he feels the others are getting too rowdy: "Teacher, make them be quiet!" He's used to Indian discipline, and when he discovered that nobody in England was ever going to beat him, he decided that he could do whatever he wanted. That's why I said that he only stays in the classroom sometimes! He's getting better, though, and he really only stops coping when asked to do something like group work, or experiments. He's used to working by rote and he doesn't cope too well without that structure. In PE he's like a little firecracker, utterly ignoring all attempt at instruction, whizzing around the large empty space with his arms outstretched.

The other children are a bit nonplussed by him. They get used to grouping him with the lowest ability children and passing him off as slightly cracked, and then suddenly he does something astonishing like getting up to fill in an entire maths problem on the board, or like the other week in RE when we were talking about the Psalms. I asked whether anyone had heard the Psalm that begins 'The Lord is my Shepherd'. Up leapt George, and recited the whole thing, very fast, in the King James version. The class was astounded. Only problem is, George got so much praise and amazed recognition that he must have thought it was a good button to press. Now whenever it looks as though he's going to be in trouble, he's off, reciting it like a charm: "Mr Robinson! TheLordismyshepherdIshallnotwant..."

The REAL Mr Robinson phoned me tonight from Ely. I can't believe that it's happening at last, and it will all be over so quickly! Suddenly both outcomes feel as scary as each other. In a couple of weeks, he won't be 'maybe' going to be a priest any more. It'll be either yes or no.
He sounded very happy. His presentation went very well, he said, but his DDO had advised him not to give me too many details over the phone! His next interview is at 8.45 tomorrow morning. Lots of lovely people have been phoning and emailing to know how it's going, but I'm not sure what to tell them other than that he sounds cheerful. Thinking about it makes me nervous...

I'm going to take my snuffles off the net now. Night night, readers.


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