It’s Monday morning and I have to confess that my chimp has struggled to wake up. For her benefit, I set a pre-alarm clock of calming birdsong, in the hope that she may awaken in a half civilised fashion. She did not. To give her credit, she did manage a level of courteousness and was almost conversational before leaving for work. Possibly because our children were away at their parents’. At some point I will write a post on the progress my chimp has made regarding the first hour of her day…
Anyway, my chimp and I are at work, in a first school; a school for children aged four to nine. We are spending our day teaching in two classes; a total of sixty, eight and nine year olds in one large, open space. What could possibly go wrong? The likelihood for chimp interactions are off the scale!
So far so good; the children have come into school calmly and settled to their tasks. I’m feeling in control and my chimp appears to be taking a nap. That is until one child starts behaving like an actual chimp. ‘Bloody hell, here we go again,’ my chimp stirs from her slumber and notes the diminutive chimp in our presence who is jumping over chairs. ‘Come here please,’ I beckon the chimp child to me and he saunters over. ‘I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. Focus and remember it is no longer the weekend so we don’t jump over furniture and wander around the classroom at our leisure. Go back to your table and get on with your learning.’ The chimp child recognises that he has got away without a warning. My focus is drawn elsewhere and I assume the chimp child is now working. I assumed wrong. ‘What the hell is he doing by the sink?’ My chimp growls as I outwardly sigh. ‘Why have you left the classroom without asking?’ I question him more politely than my chimp would as he slinks back into the classroom. He looks at me with empty eyes and empty thoughts. He has no excuse other than he wanted to. ‘Fucking hell! Grab him the collar and frog march him down to the Head Teacher’s office!’ My chimp commands. I take a breath and explain that this is his final warning and if I see him making bad choices again he will have a lunchtime detention. My chimp feels mildly satisfied with this threat. I go back to what I was doing before but within a matter of minutes the chimp child is back to jumping over chairs and generally irritating anyone in a six foot radius. I feel my stomach sink and for a brief moment my chimp feels emotional and deflated. It’s barely 9am and my chimp moans that she feels like she’s just finished an eight hour shift. I squash her feelings as yet again I ask the boy chimp to come to me. This time I don’t ask him why he is jumping over furniture but instead question his overall decision making process. ‘The arrogance of this child!’ My chimp suddenly asserts herself and I feel my toes curl. He has no reason so I explain that he will go to lunchtime detention.
‘Oh and you can spend playtime with me as I’m on playground duty!’ My chimp instructs before I have time to think. I wonder if this entirely follows discipline procedures. My chimp smirks as the chimp boy slinks away.