I like winding up small children. I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it’s really easy and I think it’s quite fun.
Before training as a teacher I did lots of work experience in lots of schools. Four and a half years ago I went back to my old primary and worked with two teachers in year 3. One was a little older, sarcastic and spoke to the children as if they understood whatever she was saying, even if they didn’t and the other was a little younger, a little more (in my view) patronising of the children and a little more cuddly. It’s probably easy to guess which I got on with more.
I don’t really like talking down to children. I probably still do it but I try not to. I have got better at the stern teacher voice and not laughing when they do something naughty. I’m sarcastic with them, I tell them not to rock on their chairs because when they hit the concrete floor their brains will fall out and I’m not a big fan of cleaning up brains. (My sister was a little horrified that I actually say this to them, but children love gore and adults, especially teachers, being a bit silly and they don’t rock on their chairs anymore.) I tell them lots of things that are true and real and sometimes I throw in little snippets of things that are not so true.
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but when I started at the school I was blonde. Then I went home when Dad died and dyed it my general red/brown type colour. Red dye fades quickest and with blonde underneath, despite top ups, I quickly went orange. The I dyed it brown and there I ran out of dye not designed for African or Indian hair. So the grey is coming through.
One lunch time, I told two of the year 4 children that the reason my hair changes colour so much is because of the unicorn that lives above my bed. Sometimes she cries in the night and that changes my hair colour. I know they didn’t fully believe my story, but there was still a small look of ‘what if…’ going on there.
In the same way, this week, I’ve been half trying to convince my class that I’m a witch. We are covering books by an author, with Roald Dahl featuring, so have read some of The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches. (Of course I do all of the voices. One girl almost falls over backwards on the carpet whenever I screech “George!!!!” in Grandma’s voice).
There is a section in the book where you read out that perhaps even the teacher reading this book is a witch and then it talks about how to recognise a witch’s characteristics. Now, living in a tropical climate means that it’s quite easy to disprove the theory that I am a witch, they can see my toes through my sandals for a start, and Roald Dahl points out that REAL WITCHES have no toes. They wear gloves to cover up their cat-like claws. I have ravaged and bitten fingernails. Unlike many ladies of Mwanza, I do not wear a wig. They pulled a little at my hair to check this. Nor do I have oversized nostrils or blue spit. So they think that they know I’m definitely not a witch. But… I did point out that we have had 6 children leave our class this year and witches make children go missing. (One moved to Texas, one couldn’t afford the fees anymore, one is off sick for ages and the others have moved to India.)
I’ve made lots of little hints that I may be a witch but they aren’t fully going with it. Tomorrow they will have to go with it though, because I will be wearing green tights, face paint and a black dress as the Wicked Witch of the West (or Elphaba if you are a Wicked fan, I am) for the school’s book day.
I did a trial run of the make up yesterday and it only took me about 15 mins, so I don’t even have to get up much earlier in the morning to do it. I think i’ll surprise the kids and probably the Head of Secondary too (Don’t read this yet Fay).
I’ll take some pictures and put them up here. Especially of me at lunch out of school with Little Red Riding Hood and an alien…
So I went green, I should have greened the arms but was trying to be practical, but I regret that now. Some of the year 8s asked if I was the hulk and most of the primary kids thought I was Princess Fiona from Shrek. Philistines. At least one child knew who I was…