What's all this then?

I tweet too much. So I needed somewhere else to start storing all the words. This is it. Think of it as the external hard drive for my thoughts.

I don't have an obesssion, a dream, a fixation or a hook, so don't be expecting a focus here. It's like great big lumps of my twitterings. You may see teaching stuff, rants, maternal anxiety and occasional sojourns away from reality.

Anyway, I like a nice chat so we should talk. By we, I of course mean me...

Monday, 17 January 2011

The boy who liked to Explain Things.

This is a story about Steven. Simply because his is a story I want to tell.

Steven was in the first class I taught. He is the child mentioned in my first blog (In the beginning...) The one who used to hang from the hand dryer yelling “CROCODILE ATTACK!”

Steven was, and hopefully still is, a one off.  I was warned he had behaviour issues. Which was sort of true. He meant well, but he was one of those children who couldn’t help himself. He developed a habit of scrunching the tops of other kids’ heads as he walked past which would inevitably result in
“Miiiiiissssss…. Steeeeeeven hit me!”
“He didn’t hit you. He just scrunched your head. Steven, what did we say about scrunching people’s heads?”
“They don’t like it”
“No, they don’t. Soooo?”
“We don’t do it”

Steven was a child with views. On everything. He was the child who derailed a class by offering to explain what an incubator was. His explanation actually covered the main points of fertilization and conception. A sticky moment in many ways. My novice response was to talk over the worst of it and ignore the little voice that piped up with,

“What’s sperm?”

Steven was a supply teacher’s nightmare. Sensing the vacuum left by the removal of the regular authority figure in the class, Steven would step in to help. His strong sense of natural justice would lead him to assume the role of  Chief Peacekeeper. Wrongdoers in the class would be severely punished under his rule. This lead to my return from a bout of flu being greeted with the ominous statement,

“Steven went in your cupboard.”

Ah, the hallowed portal in the classroom: the walk in stationery cupboard, a treasure trove of glue and coloured shiny paper. Entrance was strictly prohibited.
“What were you doing in there Steven?”
“Getting the rounders bat.” My blood began to chill rapidly.
“And why were you getting the rounders bat?”
“Peter wouldn’t do what he was told.”

In circumstances like these, it’s important to stay calm and ask the right questions. The right question wasn’t “What happened next?” as 29 other children decided that their version of events needed to be heard at this point.  Steven maintained an ominous silence.  It transpired that he had objected to Peter not doing as he was asked by the supply teacher, so he had gone for the baseball bat to enforce the law. Peter had, understandably, done a runner and the two of them had ended up doing laps round the outside of the mobile classroom. The pursuit had only ended when Steven climbed a drainpipe in order to launch a “surprise attack” on Peter when he rounded the corner.

“What were the rest of you doing at this point?” was also a daft question,
“And what was the teacher doing?”
“He had a guitar, Miss”

There didn’t seem to be much point in asking any more questions. It was obvious what had happened. Steven didn’t cope well with insecure environments. He struggled when the person in charge wasn’t. He didn’t like significant people being absent.  The previous year, his father had been killed in a road traffic accident. Steven had been affected by this grief in ways beyond measure and his behavioural quirks had developed as coping mechanisms. He lived in a world of his own most of the time and when he did surface it was to explain his experiences of the real world at extraordinary length. He couldn’t settle until he was sure that he understood what was new and puzzling. At least there were some things in his life open to explanation.

I did a bad thing one day. Some BEd students came in. They wanted to test Piaget’s theory that before the age of 9, children don’t understand the concept of the conservation of liquids. They wanted to show children aged 9 and below a variety of containers holding the same amount of liquid and ask them to explain what they saw. Steven was 9. I gave them Steven to talk to.  Several hours later they came to thank me, with somewhat ravaged looks on their faces.  I got my comeuppance later when Steven wanted to explain what he had seen to me.

Steven is one of those children you always wonder about. What became of him? Where will he end up? Is he conducting meticulous studies in experimental physics? I half expect to see him speaking on behalf of Scotland Yard.  I hope he’s well. And that he remains the kind of original person that draws love to them like a crocodile to a hand dryer.


  1. What an absolutely delightful story. Thanks for sharing. I haven't had a bedtime story in ages. Night, night...

  2. While I got the reference to the first line of the story, I didn't quite get the last line about a crocodile to a hand dryer. Anyway Was it one of these hand dryers?: hand dryers

  3. Thank you Misty2k. Hope you slept well!

    The only important thing about the hand dryer was that it was the perfect height for being a branch over a crocodile-infested river...

    I certainly wouldn't dream of endorsing hand dryers. Other means of removing water from your extremities are available.

  4. He'd love the Dyson Airblade then. I know I do.


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