Tuesday, 24 September 2013

When lunch-time detention became jazz singing

Up from the murky backwaters of guilt after yesterday's scene with Waleed from my old class, I've got a real positive gem to share today - one of those 'teaching moments' that reassures you that you have a great job and that you are quite lucky.

Karim is a troublemaker - when I see pictures of him, I can't fathom how he looks so cute because in class he is a frequent headache. He is more of a concept than a child - he is the famous Karim, that gentle implosion capable of bringing your day crashing down with the smallest of actions. I think maybe the fact that I haven't really had the chance to know him until this week is why today's lunchtime detention has a positive glow to it.

Karim, it has been unilaterally decided, had been in too much trouble with too many people and he is now subject to a behaviour order - no playtimes, no lunchtime playtimes and he has a behaviour report to be filled in each day. As a consequence, he has been spending his lunch times with me.

Many of the moral criminological questions about the prison system pertain equally to my lunch-detention law. Is the punishment the loss of liberty itself, or should further sanctions be imposed. In effect, should Karim be confined to his cell  (my company) or should he face further punishment during the break?

Not unlike my view of prisons, I feel the loss of liberty is punishment enough. As such, in a very Scandinavian-Justice-System style, Karim and I - prisoner and jailer - spent his detention today having lunch together in my room.

A friend of mine recently introduced me to Gregory Porter, and for some reason (possibly I said the words to Karim!) I felt the overwhelming need to put 'Be Good' up on Youtube.

Gregory Porter is incredible and this song is just so lowbeat, optimistic and chilled. With no shame, I joined in with some beautiful humming and to my surprise, I could see Karim was smiling and nodding along to it.

When Porter's voice kicked in for the first time, with that first 'Be Good', Karim sang it straight after, pitch perfect.

In my head, I started thnking ohmagodohmagodohmagod, realising I was having one of those buzzing inspiring moments of teaching, like when Mr Farthing goes to see Billy Casper in the field.

We started it from 00:00 and then this time, we sang it together.

I went for my PPA with a smile on my face and with the melody ringing in my mind.


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