Ready to take on the little devils?

28th October 2005 at 01:00
The first years are no longer young innocents and are beginning to flex their muscles. Are you ready to step into the ring?

With the October break over, the first years, or gites as they are sometimes called, enter the school gates with two strange lumps on their heads. They have started to grow horns.

Each one has an aura of what can only be described as cockiness. To them, this secondary school business is a walk in the park.

First day nerves are well behind them.

Even their look has changed. Gone is the neatly tucked in shirt and straight "mum knotted" tie. The shirt is now casually half out of the trousers and tie knots are the size of grapefruits slanted to one side. As for the pristine shined shoes, they are now well scuffed.

Image is everything, it seems.

Armed with attitude and appearance, it is now time to take on the establishment. Most first years, by this time, have categorised each teacher and know exactly what they can get away with. Their skill bank in avoidance of work is starting to form into an impressive folio. Talents include elaborate tactics in the art of dinner queue jumping, 101 excuses for toilet excursions, how to fake Mum's signature for PE notes and, most importantly, how to pass the blame. Commonly known as the "it wisnae me"

school of thought, the basis of this is, at all times, deny, deny, deny.

Even when faced with overwhelming odds, blame someone else.

The teachers' armoury has diminished over the years and we now fight in an arena of political correctness. Gone are the days of the belt, the cane and other forms of corporal punishment.

During the demise of the belt I heard of one school which, on the final day before the ban, set up a booth with a sign that read "Last ever chance to get belted here!" Rumour had it that the queue extended around the bike sheds.

So, with belting days firmly in the past, the world of detentions takes on a new importance. However, even that is not straightforward. There are those parents who, believe it or not, object to their child being chastised in this manner. They say it takes away their human rights! Is it me?

The whole concept of detentions has changed. In the past, teachers would give out a slip informing the student of the time and place of the detention. They would then wait at the end of school for the detainees to arrive promptly. If only it were still that simple.

Today we not only give out the slips making sure each child has 24 hours'

notice - we don't want to hurt those human rights, now - but we go and collect the individual, so there is no escape. This infuriates new first years, because as yet they have not found a way around it. Give them time.

In each department throughout the school the first years' horns are starting to engage with the authority of teachers. They know exactly which buttons to press.

In a drama studio not so far, far away, a spiky ginger-haired gite decided to push his luck. As he entered the classroom, his eyes glared at Sir with that "Who do you think you are?" look.

As the class settled for the register to be taken, his voice could be heard above the others. Despite several vain attempts to get him to "Keep quiet!", this Scottish terrier was determined to have the last word. It was show time.

"Right, that's it!" shouted the teacher. "Take you and your attitude outside my class, now!"

The boy looked over his shoulder at an imaginary character and said: "C'mon attitude, looks like you and I are outta here!"

The writer wishes to be anonymous

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