Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Monsieur Angry Pants

My French teacher was an angry little man with an army-style crew cut hairdo.

I never understood why anyone liked him, and yet he was head of the small clique of popular teachers, in the same way that the bitchiest girls and the roudiest boys were heads of the clique of popular kids. I suppose in such a small country school, where nothing really changes in twenty years, the essential differences between the children and the teachers are fairly insignificant!

Monsier Crew Cut has lived for years now in a little place in my head I reserve for the people I believe played some part in my becoming an unhappy adult, and I have never been able to forgive him for it. I wonder if we ever forgive those people who abuse (knowingly or otherwise) their relationships with us as children. I wonder if we ever should?

Monsier's problem was that he was a stick, not a carrot. He clearly had well-defined ideas about what he liked and didn't like in the children he taught, and the only way he knew to deal with what he didn't like, was to try and frighten it out of the child in question.... Which apparently doesn't work particularly well on intelligent, socially anxious, and emotionally vulnerable thirteen year olds (me).

I've always had a certain respect for the kids who back-chat their teachers. It shows some force of character to see through the curtain of power and heirachy at that age and to have the confidence to question it. I never could. When Monsier Crew Cut exploded in my face, in a white-hot rage about something I had or hadn't done, I took it personally! Though  on the surface I was indignant, I actually suffered some pretty deep wounds from that man.

Of course, as a less vulnerable adult, I would be more likely to just walk away from it with a bemused expression, later to vent to a close friend about how this sad little man was clearly trying to make up for a lack of something in his pants... er... I mean life.

But I was vulnerable then! More so for being one of those irritating 'sensitive' children. And the message I took from his irrational and judgemental barking was: "little girl- you don't live up to expectations, change right this instant or I'll blow you to the ground with the force of my anger."

In Kooky's perfect world, there would be no place for people like this- definatly not in schools at least! Children need nurturing, simple guidelines, and most importantly of all, humour.

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