Educating Lolita can be a drag

4th November 2005 at 00:00
Sting - the falsetto Geordie of The Police and Amazon forest campaign fame - does not seem to get the credit he deserves for imparting career advice.

When I switched professions to become a teacher, his words rang in my ears as I wavered between primary and secondary school teaching.

Many teachers who work with the younger kids would cite the bad behaviour of teenage boys as a major factor in their choice. Not me.

There are serious reasons I chose primary but there were also the wise words of Sting to consider. Not "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da", but those of "Don't Stand So Close To Me", the Lolita-esque tale of a teacher who reciprocated the amorous advances of a school girl.

I'm not flattering myself that I'd have the same effect on teenage girls as the milkman-turned-teacher-turned-popstar. But after working at a summer school for key stage 3 and 4 children, I'm relieved that my first choice was primary.

All was fine at the summer school until the second afternoon when four KS4 girls who'd been kicked off a fashion course for causing trouble were shepherded into my grammar lesson in an information technology suite.

Coming from a generation when squeaky Sting was the height of sex-appealdom, I'm shocked by very little. But when fully-developed "women"

walk into a room wearing bikini tops, a man's attention tends to be involuntarily drawn to one particular area. Then you realise that, oh my god, these are children. We were in trouble - the "we" being me and the KS4 boys in the room.

As soon as these highly-sexualised girls sashayed into the class, they made a beeline for the bewildered boys, and did so every day thereafter. That could have been highly entertaining, if it were not for the complicated computer user-names and passwords the kids had to type in at the beginning of each lesson.

The girls regularly asked me to type in their details. I'd ask them to slide their chair away as I leaned across the keyboard. But then I'd suddenly feel something brushing lightly against my arm. Without wanting to make a fuss I'd shift away a few inches, only for a chest to once again heave in my direction. Talk about career flashing before eyes.

Sting never had to deal with this. Schools didn't have computers then. Back at my full-time job now I'm relieved to deal with primary school problems of tears, vomiting and toilet accidents - and not a bikini top or wandering breast in sight.

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