Tuesday morning eleven o’clock. Group six has just had gym in a room near school. Thirty children are lined up in battle order to walk back. Just before the starting signal, Joris (8) says: “Teacher, I have to pee.” “Me too,” says Thijn. “You should have asked that sooner,” I say. “Just wait until we get to school.” On the way I see Joris and Thijn walking out of the line to a tree to pee after all.
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Two mini corps balls
“Teacher is a monkey”, says Joris. Thijn: “A monkey fucker.” They are double. It’s like two mini-corps balls. Unfortunately for them, I have extremely good hearing. “WHAT DID YOU SAY THERE?” I call. “To the director you!” As the two make their way to the boardroom on arrival, a little less happy now, I think of the SIRE ad: ‘Do you let your boy be enough boy?’ I think: boys remain boys, you really can’t get that out.
You can’t let a horse be a cow. Stimulation is not necessary, they will look for it themselves. Recently I spoke to former student Maarten, a boy who studies law properly and passes all his exams. He told me what he and his friends were up to after school without me knowing. My ears popped.
They peed in Coke bottles, leaned them against any front door, then rang a bell. When it snowed, they threw frozen dog poop in the red mailbox on the corner. They hit cars with branches. Shot each other with BB guns and set fires in the park.
The thinking behind the SIRE advertising is that boys today have to adapt their behavior to female standards. That in itself is correct. I remember from my own school days when boys were constantly bashing each other’s brains. We girls thought that was ridiculous, but accepted it as a law of nature.
Called names by your child >
Doing forbidden things
My – mostly female – colleagues and I do not allow fighting. We immediately separate boys who commit it, and they have to say sorry. When they set up a rugby league, we banned it after a boy sprained his ankle. Are we hindering their development? “Nope,” says Maarten. “We thought it was funny when you banned something. Doing forbidden things is fun. Then we came up with something else.”
‘Greetings from Joris and Thijn’
The next day Joris and Thijn come and stand in front of my desk with their best faces. They hand me a note: ‘Dear teacher. We’ll never call you monkey fucker again. Greetings from Joris and Thijn.’ Later in my mind I see them reminiscing about ‘teacher monkey neuker’ over a beer. I try my best not to burst out laughing and give them a hug. Instead, I give them the toughest high-five possible.
This article was previously published in Kek Mama.
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