Kicking Ass in the Classroom
If you're going to lose it you might as well do it in style.
Kicking Ass in the Classroom
For 6 months I kept my cool, but the day finally came when I did what many a teacher longs to do – I exploded all over the place and took out the one boy who irritated me more than all the others, and did it in fine, swashbuckling style.
As a foreign language assistant in a large secondary school in a Paris suburb I had little authority. Most of the pupils were the children of recent immigrants who were struggling to cope with French and they had little inclination for complicating things by turning their hands and heads to English.
Some classes were better than others of course, and I made some headway with the Czechs and Portuguese, but the Algerians had arrived with a concept of discipline and education that was at loggerheads with the European models I’d been used to so conflict was inevitable. It wasn’t their fault.
On one occasion a mini tear-gas canister, the kind that ladies in Paris carry illegally to ward off unwelcome male (and canine) attention, was exploded in the class and we had to evacuate, my eyes and throat screaming in agony. Another day the door of the classroom was flung open and a bucket of freezing cold water was thrown round me.
I never reacted inappropriately, but by Friday 13th May I’d had all I could take. I hated Fridays. That was the day Raphael’s class turned up and Raphael was the school brat. He loved to goad me and knew all the buttons to press – to my shame.
By this particular Friday I could take no more. He sat at the back sneering at me and causing as much disruption as he could without getting caught – he always knew how far he could go, but not this day.
“Any more cheek from you, son, and I’ll put you through that wall behind you,” I threatened. I shocked myself, and when he put on the hurt, innocent look I snapped. I lifted him by the coat and flung him against the wall. He hit it with a dull thud and an expression of utter disbelief arrived on his annoying, pimply face. I expected him to bounce off the wall onto the floor but no. Raphael went right through the wall into the next classroom leaving a boy-shaped hole in the thin bit of plasterboard that passed for a wall, and in I went after him.
I hauled the stunned, plaster-coated teenager off the floor as a flabbergasted Mademoiselle something or other watched on horrified at the mayhem unfolding in her otherwise well-ordered classroom. When I saw it was only his pride that was wounded and that my career in the French education system had probably come to an ignominious end, I followed through with a good hard kick to Raphael’s butt propelling him back into my own room which was strangely silent, picked up my belongings and was never heard of again.
I thoroughly enjoyed telling that!