How Bad Can it Get?

Generally, I have been quite lucky thus far in my teaching experiences. My pupils don’t hit me, scream at me, and often even say hello and goodbye as they enter and leave the classroom. My peers doing Teach First tell me that the former are daily occurrences, and more than one has felt it necessary to call the police to break up fights when the violence appeared to warrant police charges.

Back in France, things can get just as difficult, especially for those out in the wilds of the campagne. This is story I heard just today. The friend in question (working in an undisclosed location) was playing Consequences, an old game where you write on a piece of paper and pass it along, building up a story.

The categories are as follows:

# Man’s name
# Woman’s name
# Place name
# He said to her…
# She said to him
# The consequence was… (a description of what happened after)

Each pupil writes a boy’s name, receives the piece of paper from the person on their left, writes a girl’s name, and so on.

She collected all the finished scripts up and then read them out. Some were amusing, along the lines of Thomas and Catherine met at the cinema, he said “I love you”, she said “who are you?”, and they had a baby.

As she continued reading to the class, she began to notice a potential problem. One pupil had written “fuck you” under “he said to her”. Being a fervent disbeliever in moral outrage, she gamely read it out, and they all laughed. However, things continued to deteriorate until the point that the “consequence” was two, simple words: “cum shot”. Caught between the realisation of how absurd the situation was, and her duty (or need for the money), she just stood, speechless, and watched the kids laughing at her.

She couldn’t even say fuck you back, of course. The pupils realise this and push you to see how much you’ll take before you emotionally break down and weep. Being female and about half the size of some of your pupils doesn’t help either. Of course, 90% of pupils aren’t like this at all. However, the ones who have the most daring, and want the biggest laughs, also tend to be the most respected by the others. They are also usually the most stupid. In these situations, all one has is a well honed Gallic shrug to express the mélange of complete contempt and yet undeniable admiration for the pupil having the outright idiotic guts…

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