T is for Timetables

As I read the letter in front of Janice I couldn’t help but snigger at some of the things he’d said and I was quite impressed at the composition of the e mail.

“It’s pretty good, actually.” I said to Janice.

“Yes, it is, very well formulated in fact.”

“So, what exactly happened then with Victor Churchman and Mr. Fothergill?”

“Well, the problem is, Mr. Fothergill feels that if Brendon had issues with the school he should have come to senior staff or himself.  Involving politicians makes problems for him if they think the school is being run inefficiently.”

Yes, I thought.  I bet he didn’t like that one bit. He was all about the SAT’s results and exam passes and becoming the leading school in the area.  Now Brendon had made his technology college look like a joke.  Particularly since the IT teacher didn’t even understand the methods that Brendon had suggested.

“Oh. So how does this affect him on Governors report?  Is this like another black mark against him?”

“I suppose it depends on the outcome.”  She said. “Mr. Fothergill is none too pleased but it would depend on how the Governors feel.  However I have to discuss more on that since last week’s meeting.

Ah, the result of the Governors meeting. I waited to hear how that had been received after we’d left.  I didn’t feel on so much of a high now. 
 “After discussing it with Mr. Fothergill, Mr Locks has decided that we need to put Brendon on an individual timetable plan and perhaps remove him from one or two lessons.  Just concentrate on his ten key exams and then have him leave school.”

“Leave school?  What do you mean leave school?” I started to panic.

 “Basically just come in when he needs to for the relevant lessons and then go home.  We believe that this is the only way to keep him from being in any more trouble than necessary and from risking expulsion.”

“What do you mean, remove him from other lessons?”  I wondered where this was going.

“Well there was an incident in Business Studies that we’ve yet to talk about.”  She flicked, as usual, through the reports.

My heart was racing.  All of a sudden the school had made all these monumental decisions in the space of two days.

She read out the incident:

Mr. Jenkins – Business studies – Brendon kept asking me to explain a part of the business sector as he said he wanted more information.  I asked him to refer to the text book in front of him.  Brendon continued to ask me to elaborate stating that the text book was not ‘in depth’ enough and he wanted me to explain certain modules.  I told Brendon that this was all we needed to cover for today’s lesson and all the relevant information pertaining to that was in the text book.  Brendon said “You’re obviously refusing to explain this to me as you don’t properly understand business.  Your job as my teacher is to explain all the concepts.” I told Brendon that my job was to stick to the lesson plan to ensure all pupils covered the exam criteria.  Brendon then replied with “Well, if you understood business properly then you’d be running one and wouldn’t be a teacher on £25K a year”.  I found Brendon’s remarks rude and unnecessary and asked him to leave the lesson.

I winced at his comment to the teacher and couldn’t believe he’d had the gall to say something like that. 

“Oh no. Why can’t he just keep his mouth shut?” I said shaking my head at Janice.

“Look,” She said.  “Its part of the way he thinks but we need to keep him in line.  The idea of this plan is that he sticks to main lessons and then is back at home.  We’ll keep him on Governors report to keep that ‘threat’ up there so he knows it’s the last boundary.  Mr Locks and I would also like you to come in on Mondays and Fridays for reviews so we can work hard together at getting him through and maybe every morning or after school for the first few weeks so we can keep on top of daily incidents."
I sat and let this wash over me for a second.  How the hell was I supposed to do that and keep my job?

“Have you done a new timetable yet?” I asked.

She bought it out of the folder and I glanced over it week by week.  There was a whole day that he wasn’t even in school and others where there were just one or two lessons starting around 10 am.  If I wasn’t there to make him get up and go to school then I knew he probably wouldn’t bother.  Brendon truly believed he could pass his exams with no effort and saw revision and course work as a pain.

“Janice..I’m going to have to seriously consider this.  You have to give me a few days because it will affect my life massively.”
“I understand." She replied “But if there are ways round it then I really think it’s for the best.  The best way forward for Brendon.”

She printed me off a copy of the revised timetable that they wanted to implement after next week and a copy of his letter to Victor Churchman for posterity.

Janice then went to fetch Brendon so we could all have a discussion together.  He came in and gave me a big hug.  “I love you Mommy.” He said as sat down next to me and began drumming his fingers on the table.

“Brendon” Janice started. “We need to discuss a couple of things, the first one being an email you sent to the MP Victor Churchman?”

“Oh yeah. His secretary replied back to me the other day and said he’d look into it.”

“Well, he actually came into school the other day to see Mr. Fothergill.”

“And?”  Said Brendon wondering what the big deal was.

“Well, do you not think it would have been better for you to address these problems with senior staff like Mr. Locks or Mr. Fothergill before you went directly to your local MP?”  She offered.

“Err, No.  Since when do they EVER listen to me? Besides, I’ve probably done this school a favour now and they’ll get better software.”

To be honest, as I sat and listened, I really couldn’t come up with any argument. Janice and I looked at each other in silent agreement.

“And Business Studies.” She continued. “What you said to Mr Jenkins about him being a teacher because he hasn’t the ability to be in business?”

“Well it’s true.”  He stated.

“Whatever you may believe Brendon that was a hurtful and disrespectful comment that has no merit.”

“Mr Jenkins has never explained anything to do with business, EVER.  He hasn’t got a clue and all he does is refer you to a text book.  That’s not teaching.  I can read a book at home.”

Again, whilst I recognised his rudeness, part of me agreed with his argument.  I was beginning to wonder if Aspergers was catching.

Janice went through the proposed new timetable with Brendon, explaining that I would be coming in if I could also on a daily basis.  He didn’t really seem to be bothered either way apart from the fact he got a whole day off and could use that to play on his computer.  Aspie kids didn’t revise at home.  I’d been told this by the SEN team when I’d been struggling to get him to do homework.  Home is for home and work is for work and never the twain shall meet.

Brendon said he had to go because he was hungry and needed to get to the canteen before his next lesson.  He ruffled my hair and disappeared.

“I’ll let you know what I can do in the next few days.”  I said to Janice as I stood up to leave.

She rubbed my shoulder. “I know it’s hard.  You know where I am and we’ll talk soon.” 
I drove home wondering how the hell I could manage Brendon’s new timetable, daily school meetings and stay at work.  It wasn’t possible.  It would be easy to say no to the school but if I didn’t accommodate them would they see that as neglect on my part?  Would they have further excuses to get him out?  Besides, I’d spent four and a half years fighting his corner; I couldn’t just give up at the last hurdle.  This was the time he needed me so he could have something to show for the brilliant mind that he was and finish school with decent qualifications.
I got back and decided I should talk to Karl.  He would help me decide what to do or give me some alternatives. Plus he needed to know the next stage we were at since the Governors meeting.

His phone rang a few times and I was expecting the Bond style answer machine to kick in when it answered.

“Hello...” Said a young female voice at the other end.

It floored me a little.

“Err.. hello, is Karl available please?” I asked the girl.  The girl I recognised as Sarah.

“No he’s indisposed at the moment and he’ll be busy most of the day.  Can I take a message?”

Indisposed. Really.

“Can you ask him to ring Sophie, please?”  I replied politely biting extremely hard on my lower lip.

Who, sorry?”  She schmoozed.  I really wasn’t in the mood for this little game.

“SO-PHIE.” I replied loud and clear. “And when he’s finished being indisposed please tell him I need to speak to him as a matter of urgency because I’ve just received a letter from the clinic and it looks like he’s contracted a sexually transmitted disease.”