Monday, 2 April 2012

There May Yet Be Hope

I was in the student lounge on the top floor when I spotted a lad who I've had confrontations with in the past. I was certain he should be a lesson at that time so I checked on the database and found that to be the case. I decided not to challenge him until I was sure. Sometimes we get fobbed off with 'I'm feeling ill', 'I don't have to be there', 'I'm doing coursework' etc.

I went down to the ground floor and checked with the teacher.
“Yes he should be here,” she said. “And I'm pretty angry with him.”
“Would you like me to drag his sorry carcass down here?” I asked.
“Yes and tell him from me he's in for a damn good bollocking.” (Her exact words.)
I vowed to do my best, bearing in mind that this particular chap is quite a large individual, has been quite surly with me and the other supervisors and sometimes looks like he might get violent.

I found him still in the lounge sitting with his mates. I was quite prepared for him to refuse to cooperate, in which case I would have to point out he would be making things worse for himself. It also crossed my mind he might punch me.
“Mr ***, you need to come with me.”
“What's this about?”
“I'll explain on the way.”

To my surprise he followed like a lamb. As soon as we were outside the lounge I informed him.
“Your English teacher sends her regards and is very much looking forward to seeing you.”
At this point he cottoned on and began making his excuses. Apparently they were having a test. He hadn't done the work, was bound to fail and just decided not to turn up.
Then I told him the truth. “Actually, I think she's going to roast your ass.”
I suggested that it would have been better to have seen his teacher and come clean. He admitted that might have been the wiser option.

This was amazing. This was the first proper conversation I'd had with this guy and he seemed quite chatty so I decided to try and connect with him.
“So how is the photography going?” (I know this was on his timetable.)
“I've dropped it. They told me I was no good at it.”
“That's a shame.”
“Well, I didn't do any work for that either and I missed a couple of photo shoots.”
“So what are you concentrating on if not photography and not English either, going by today's evidence?”
“Nothing. I'm leaving at the end of the year. I'm going to be a barber.”
I didn't see that coming. I told him I would be sorry not to have the pleasure of his company next year. I meant that sincerely. I'm sure he could do well at college if he applied himself but maybe he'll make a success in his chosen career. He might even change his mind and stay on – just to confound me. I wished him luck and left him to face his teacher.


  1. Now I want to know how his encounter with the teacher went! There is always hope....

  2. I've seen him since the incident, Diane, and he's still in one piece!

  3. Oh I don't know what happen Keith, but I thought I post a comment on here yeaterday. Never mind, I shall try again. I know it's an old cliche 'to never just a book by its cover' but sometimes it is easy to misjudge others. Sometimes kids need to find something they are good at which makes them feel its worth their time doing. Who knows he may just become the next Nicky Clarke of the hairdressing world.

    It would be very interesting to know how the lad's life turn out.
    I wish you both well

  4. I agree, Jarmara. I don't judge. I'm always aware that in a few years time some of them could be performing surgery on me, looking after my finances or even interviewing me for a job. So I try not to hack them off too much. I'm just trying to prepare them for the world outside in my own crude way.

  5. They say that hairdressers always come top in polls for those getting most job satisfaction - so being a barber could be a good move, especially if the lad gets to own his own shop in the future.
    Your job sounds fascinating, Keith, much more interesting than sitting at a computer all day, which is what I do.

  6. It's only a few hours, Sally, but it breaks the day up nicely. The rest of the time I'm at the PC like you. I finish supervision in May when I become an exam invigilator till the end of June. After that I'm on call to stand in at the college LIC (Library and Information Centre). I don't know if I'll be asked back in September.