The dust has settled on a recent Twitter scandal. The person involved seems to have disappeared off Twitter, but I suspect he'll be back. I felt very sad when I saw what had happened (in my current job, just like in my old job, I am not online all day and always miss things and come to them later than everyone else.)
So a funny, clever, popular person was outed by a former girlfriend who posted about how he wasn't what he seemed - that as well as charming, clever and funny, he was also violent and alcoholic, and used people for emotional and financial support.
I felt very sorry for him still, though clearly he did some bad things and was responsible for his own actions. He suffers from depression and the effect of a fucked-up childhood, though this doesn't excuse his behaviour, it can give some clue as to where his problems stem from.
What was sad about all this was the way people were so very judgemental, straight away - much more judgemental and less forgiving than the girl who wrote the original blog, who had more reason than most to judge him. Her motivation didn't seem to be vengeful at all - she didn't want anyone else to go through what she went through, she wanted him to get help as he was in denial.
But people were so outraged. As though the funny, charming lost soul could not be the same person as the angry, manipulative alcoholic. As though he was representing himself as something he wasn't - but don't we all do that on social media? It doesn't tell the whole complex story of a human being.
Sometimes we prefer heroes and villains to the complicated reality.
The last teaching job I had was covering one day a week in a nursery in deepest Newham. It was a school in the middle of a housing state in an area of the Docklands untouched by regeneration of any kind. Unlike my old school, the children were from every country in the world. There were some white East End kids too, with accents that made the cast of Eastenders sound like the Duchess of Devonshire.
I liked the nursery, which was relatively undemanding, as the kids are allowed to, you know, play and be kids (though let’s see how long that lasts with the Prince of Darkness currently in charge of education – soon no doubt 3 and 4 year olds will be forced to conjugate Latin verbs, and write in copperplate using a quill pen, and their teacher’s salary will be docked for each kid that fails the weekly Ofsted inspection.)
I seemed to spend most of the time sweeping up sand and glitter, rice krispies and cornflakes (the messy play area – take messy substance, explore it, examine it, pour it on your friend’s head, THROW IT ON THE FLOOR) and arbitrating whose go it was on the scooters (there are never enough scooters.)
And trying to follow children around and take notes on them – this is one of the absurd effects of state controlled education, instead of being able to interact with them, you have to prove you are doing your job all the time – otherwise there is not enough EVIDENCE that children are reaching their TARGETS. It’s not enough for you to say, I know this child, I know what they can do.
Anyway, I liked the children there a lot. They are so spontaneous and direct at that age, it is really refreshing. My favourite was Reece, who had spacey wide blue eyes, he had serious speech and language issues (mum ‘didn’t have time’ to take him to the therapist – v v aggravating, when you know how stretched speech and language services are and that it takes a 100 years to get a referral) in that you couldn’t understand what he said most of the time.
He was a dear affectionate little soul and used to lean on me casually in a way that was so nice and trusting, and sometimes throw his arms around me and kiss me – in that way that little kids do who don’t really understand what you do when you kiss,he used to kind of just smoosh his face against mine.
It broke my heart when he tried to talk to me and I couldn’t understand him. Sometimes he was clearly asking a question but I didn’t know what it was, I ended up saying ‘Show me’ but sometimes he couldn’t. For now he is used to this frustration but as he gets older how much worse it will be for him. You can’t believe a parent would let their child live with this frustration and misery – a basic human need, the need to communicate – when they could do something about it.
But anyway, mostly I take fond memories away of the kids there, they were lovely and funny. It is quite an education, being with such young ones. The way everything they want and need is so upfront and so close to the surface. And if I thought how special it was seeing things afresh through the eyes of Year 1 kids, it was even better seeing the world from the perspective of the 3 and 4 year olds.
It was a nice job to finish up on in my teaching career.
But I still hope I don’t have to go back to school ever again.
How are you feeling about the O word? Psyched? Excited? Patriotic because the world's eyes are on us?
No, me neither. In fact me neither to the power of 100. I am malcoordinated, short-sighted, non-competitive & not interested in sport. (That's a bit understated. A character in 'Any Human Heart', trying to convince a priest of his atheism, says "No plumbline can fathom the depths of my faithlessness." Similarly, no plumbline can fathom the depths of my indifference to the O word.)
I hate crowds, especially during my commute, especially dopey tourists who leave their brains in the home country and clutter up the public transport during rush hour.
It was especially clever of me then to get a job commuting from Leytonstone through Stratford (GAMES CENTRAL) to North Greenwich (GAMES VENUE) through the summer season.
It started off as a bookcrossing blog, in which I left my books on the Central Line, hoping someone would pick them up and comment on them here. It has morphed into, er, this. So if you showed up looking for something about bookcrossings and books... look here or here instead