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That time when teaching 3

. . . I nearly smacked a kid up the backside of his head. I still remember the scene like it happened yesterday. I even see the kid in school some 5 years later and how different and more mature he is. It’s both entertaining and

enthralling to watch them evolve from primary school leavers to secondary school leavers.

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I remember when I first started teaching. If anyone told me I would have been doing it for going on 5 years, I’d have laughed them off. I didn’t think I’d make it without losing my job because I smacked a kid who was being naughty.

Speaking to my African friends on my being a teacher in the UK, a secondary teacher for that matter, they usually look at me like I’m feeding on something extraterrestrial! They even let me know it’s a job they would never do for any reason. Because they might be jailed for hitting a child.

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And you probably have heard some stories of parents going to jail or the police being called for hitting their own children. Or even children calling the police on their parents to protest their innocence.

Let me tell you a story of a near miss.

In my first year of teaching, I had one of my classes do a test. And if you know, you know tests can be a way of getting respite from talking and managing behaviour while keeping the kids in the classroom. Well, some children seem to not understand or selectively forget the conditions under which tests should be done. Absolute silence and individual efforts.

I’d told this child to be quiet so many times, I was getting frustrated. I could feel my blood pressure rising.

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And so my Africanness kicked it. Before my brain could fully process what I was about to do, my body had got out of my seat with my right hand leading the way to do only what a typical African person knows needs to be done. When children put their brains on vacation.

But my God is good. He sped up the process for my conscious mind to catch up with my body and tell it to go back and sit down. Thankfully for this child, he was on the opposite side of the classroom. So I had enough time to catch myself and do an aboutturn, walk back to my high chair and push my behind back to my seat.

I think I just gave the child a detention. And here, I am. Still with a job. Even losing the desire to smack children.

Saved by the distance!

To your grace advantage, . . .

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