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Friday, September 04, 2009

Keep your hands to yourself!

‘Restraint’ is one of those tricky words whose meaning I know but whose application is a little more problematical.

The extensive scab on my right knee (courtesy of the slippery pavements of La Senia and amusing Toni’s nephew) now looks like an over symmetrical satellite view of some obscure archipelago. It is not painful, but my hand keeps reaching, questingly towards it.

What child cannot remember testing the edges of a ripe scab? Adults, of course realize that the scab is there for a particular purpose and any interference with its healing function will merely extend the process of restoration of new skin. But there is a small child in all of us and I found myself reminding this internal delinquent to restrain his picking proclivities.

Believe me picking scabs was a bloody sight more interesting than what we were supposed to be doing for three hours (without any break) chained to a badly working program on one of the serried ranks of computers in the computer room.

Apart from the horror of things not working and my not having a file which everyone else seemed to have and which made my progress impossible – the real authentic touch of torture was found in the chairs.

“Don’t go back on your chairs” is a recurring cry of teachers down the ages, especially when folk history tells of the case where a child almost broke his back after tipping his chair back etc etc. To combat this almost instinctive movement on the part of students the computer room is equipped with extraordinary seats.

These examples of pupil punishment are circular three legged low stools with a ‘back’ if it deserves that name of a thin bar of metal about six inches from the seat itself. They are supremely uncomfortable – and we were on them for three hours without a break! But I have not signed my permanent contract so I remained silent. Well, mostly silent. Well, grumbling mostly. And as I shuffled around trying to find a position which was marginally less painful and stretching my legs at the same time, my hand wandered down to my knee and the child in my took over.

The programme for our Culture Club is taking shape with six events (with pre and post talks) during the year. In our plans we have included Art, Music, Dance, Architecture, Drama and some other aspect of the arts which for the moment escapes me. On paper it looks good and convincing, but we now have to make it real by phoning around and trying to get people interested.

My function is to contact an English language theatre company and see if we can get part of their offerings directed towards our pupils.
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