His milky skin, and light Persian eyes make him stand out from the rest. He isn’t vain about his looks though..not yet at least. Infact, at this stage, he’s teased by the girls..they call him Babitha, who’s a pretty girl in one of the Hindi TV serials. He doesn’t like it, but he’ll bashfully smile and try to make them stop..until a boy joins in the fun..oh.then he’ll explode. Awad won’t hit girls, but boys his age? He’ll go at them with the ferocity of a mad hungry tiger.
Awad wants the front seat.
Not because he wants to listen to my class or anything. He just wants it. It’s his seat.
He was labelled “Handle with care” when I took over from the previous Fellow who taught this class, and so there were some things I’d grant him in exchange for a manageable version of him. The front seat was one of those things.
From his front seat,
he pinches his lower lip and lets out a whistle when I’m teaching, and then pretends to be very absorbed in the lesson
I’m new to this, new to him. I don’t yet know he did it; that he triggered the whistles that soon erupt from all corners of the class during my lesson.
Sometime during the lesson,
he’s teased by some smart-mouth at the back of the class. I couldn’t hear that over the sound of my own voice.
Awad hurls something foul back
I choose to ignore this because I don’t know who the smart-mouth is and I don’t want to stop my class after all the trouble it took to get them to be attentive
Smart-mouth insults Awad again..and again, I hear nothing!
Awad is up and out of his seat..stomping his way to the back
I give him a warning
But he’s deaf to me in his fury, and charges toward the anonymous-until-now smart-mouth
I give Awad a consequence as everyone looks on
The rims of his eyes pink with anger and fury bubbling over
He’s cursing loudly in his hoarse adolescent voice..Cursing at the smart-mouth and giving me a lesson in colourful Hindi Gaalis
while I try variations of firm tones to no avail.
Now the smart-mouth is being choked and the boys are cheering for a fight
5 minutes in and my fun lesson with cartoons and jokes comes to a halt
I tear the boys apart
Send Awad out to calm himself down
and resume my class after admonishing the smart-mouth and his cronies
I’m no longer in the mood for an entertaining lesson,
a couple more disruptions, some consequences and an angry disappointed lecture later
the bell goes
and I leave the class without having finished my very nice lesson.
And Awad? He’s roaming around the school, and will come back somewhere in the middle of the next period, hair wet and spiked up, feeling all studly. Smiling because his anger issues have entitled him to a free pass to roam the school.
There were many more episodes after this..featuring a slab of granite for a weapon, and on another day, a plank with nails.
He then entered a lewd phase where he’d unzip his pant and make lewd gestures to enrage another kid.
There were instances of him groping the boy who was his partner who was incidently the only kid who would happily be his partner and pass for a friend. I don’t understand if it’s forgiveness at play here, but I hope to God it is.
Another time he stood on that same boy’s desk and stomped on him like he was a cockroach.
He was usually the butt of the other kids’ jokes because of how angry he got so often.
He didn’t have any friends, but he did have a couple of classmates who’d take on the responsibility of calming him down and restraining him.
Why did I not report him, you wonder? I did report him whenever he endangered other students. And the Principal was up for kicking him out..and then on, that was my leverage to get him back in his seat.
I’ve lost my cool with him a couple of times. Vein-popping mad. I was quite the spectacle, and served to amuse him more than discipline him.
In those cases, do you know what this short-tempered volcano of a boy tells me in a very soft calm voice?
“Teacher, aap kyun chilla rahein ho? Pyaar se bolo na?” (Teacher, why are you screaming? Speak lovingly, no?)
And I’m like “PYAAR SE?? PYAAR SE???”
Then I throw in the towel and just walk out.
I mean, seriously, is this child trained to drive his teacher crazy??
By the end of the year, he was much more docile. I don’t know if my methods succeeded, or if he was just done giving me a hard time.