HumpDay Quickie #125

Posted: February 8, 2017 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

Staying

by Steph Ellis

 

The familiar cloying smell drifted in through the window. She didn’t need to look out the window to know that it was Kieran. Give him half-an-hour and he’d probably be slumped over his books puking his guts out. He didn’t disappoint. As Sue passed his classroom, she cast a sympathetic glance at her unlucky colleague now guiding him away from the desk.

She walked slowly, mentally running through the never-ending ‘to-do’ list, trying to prioritise tasks which were all urgent. Literacy interventions, differentiation of GCSE texts for the students she withdrew from class where the pace was relentless. Admin. Worries. The expectation of all that you would know as much as the teacher regardless of subject. Just a lowly teaching assistant.

Not for the first time she wondered why she remained. It certainly wasn’t for the money, her wages so dire she often felt it impossible to continue – especially the too frequent regularity with which unpaid time ate into home life. It definitely wasn’t for the difficult times – restraining a boy from hurling a fire extinguisher across the classroom, standing in front of another to protect him from a howling mob, walking around with the imprint of a fist in your side, working in isolation with a student whose violent outbursts put you at risk. No it wasn’t for that.

She glanced in at another classroom. A student looked up and waved and she smiled back. This was why she stayed. It was for the students whose eyes shone with pride and excitement when they’d read a book for the first time and wanted to try another; the students who suddenly wrote pages of a story when they’d never produced work before; the student who started to open up about home-life; the students who had no one.

And then just at the point when these were about to leave and she felt she could possibly walk away without guilt, she met the newcomers: hollow eyes, sad eyes, confused eyes … trusting eyes. And already she could feel that bond emerge, a fragile thing, wispy tendrils tying them together – so she held out her hand and stayed.

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