A colleague handed me a report form complaining about a pupil in my tutorial group. It appeared my lad hadn’t been particularly nice to a classmate. I scanned my colleague’s write-up of the incident, nodding and furrowing my brow in the right places to indicate my understanding of the narrative.
I thought I had my facial expressions under control, but then my head froze in mid-nod and my brow furrowed into a World War 1-style trench system, totally involuntarily.
‘You alright, Socks? You look quite pale!’
I pointed at the phrase of concern on the form. ‘Are you sure about that?’
My colleague looked at the words my pointy finger was pointing at with little circular motions, which I like to think give a ‘questioning’ appearance to my pointing.
‘Well, yes, the other kid has a right to his sexuality, doesn’t he?’
‘Yes, yes you’re quite right, of course he does.’
‘You know your lad’s a right terror,’ my esteemed colleague added.
‘You’re not kidding… So it was definitely haemophobic bullying?’
‘Damn you, Socks’.
The school takes bullying very seriously. In fact one year I was offered the post of official School Bully (for those at schools without a School Bully, it’s a bit like being the ‘Poet Laureate’). At that time I felt my best bullying was done ‘free-style’, but maybe it's time for some career development.