We’ve had a lot of windy weather here recently and whilst it has served as a powerful reminder to avoid wearing skirts lest you flash the school community whilst on Yard Duty, it has also confirmed for me how much wind affects kids’ behaviour. Kids and wind are a deadly combination.
After being buffeted about in the unsettling conditions over lunchtime, my Year 7s arrive in class dishevelled, restless and energetic. Attention span is lacking as doors caught in gusts are heard banging down the corridor and they watch the trees bending over outside the window.
“I’ll just ask you again to sit down and listen whilst I mark the roll. Come on 7C, you can do better than that. Jeremy! Leave Brayden’s books alone. Tara! Back on your chair please. I’m still waiting for silence, Year 7. Sssssh … ssssh. Sebastian, do you need to move? Well, stop poking Damian. Stop talking please, Sarah and Nina.”
“Oh my God! Did you see that branch, Miss? It just flew off the tree!”
“Come on guys, you don’t all need to rush over to the window! Sit back down! I still need to mark the roll.”
A few minutes later, I managed to get each student sitting down and working on their essays in a mostly calm manner.
“What’s a topic sentence again?”
“Remember we wrote it down last lesson — it’s the introduction ... ?”
“To the paragraph!”
“Thank you, Claire.”
“Miss! Can I please go to the toilet?”
“Yes, Damian, but just make sure you don’t let the door bang on your way.”
“Oh my God!”
“Haha! Did you see Henry jump!”
“That gave me a heart attack!”
“All right, let’s get back to our essays. Remember, this is our last lesson on these in class, so let’s try to finish them so we don’t have to take them as homework.”
“Pardon the interruption, teachers. Due to the high winds, all students are to avoid crossing the quadrangle when heading to the rear bus bay at the end of the day. Teachers will be on duty and will be directing students away from this area due to the danger posed by dropping branches. Thank you.”
“Miss, can we leave early? We’ll miss the bus if we can’t use the quadrangle to get there.”
The door bangs open.
Damian has returned and is waving a trophy branch he has collected along the way. “Look! I’m a walking tree, Miss!
“Leave the branch outside please, Damian, and come and sit back at your laptop.”
“What the ...”
The power has gone out. Essays have been lost in cyberspace and no one in 7C is happy about it.
“I’d almost finished mine and now it’s gone!”
“I hadn’t saved any of it yet.”
“Let’s start packing up then so that you can have a bit of extra time to get to the buses.”
Christina Adams is a member of the Australian Education Union (Victoria) and a stand-up comedian