Ch 4. I sat down, he worked. I stood up, he stopped.
I sat down... he worked.
I stood up...he stopped.
I sat in front of him...he worked.
I sat behind him...he stopped.
I stood up...he was silent.
I sat down...he had questions.
Like a yo- yo I bobbed up and down for the entire 75 minute maths lesson; lucky I was young and strong!
I was still fairly oblivious to the power of the pig-dog in the room. I was innocently unaware that for this child the beast sat directly behind him; breathing down his neck every moment of the day.
I shared my observations in the staff room at recess, fascinated by the reactions of the child. I met with a deep, loud silence. Everyone looked at each other; no one looked at me.
"Kate," the older teacher calmly spoke, "That child, his mum and his brother have all been whipped."
I was incredulous. How could that happen? Why would that happen?
How could I help this child? How could I make his day just a little better?
And then I realised... I needed to sit beside him, to stay where he could see me and to calmly speak every day. I needed to make him feel safe so he could learn.
Now every classroom I teach in has a seat or two where the student can see the entire room, where no one is behind them and they can see the door. You never know who does not ever feel safe.