Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Yes? No? (Part One)


I have a child in my class called Stuart. Stuart is a uniquely intense child.

Sometimes Stuart goes into a trance, lying back on his chair, balancing a pencil between his upper lip and his nose and staring blankly up at the ceiling as if he’s in the throes of some sort of enveloping, opiated ecstacy.

“Stuart?” I say.

“Stuart,” I say.

“STUART, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Stuart jerks back into the classroom and stares at me as if I am totally mad.


“I’m t h i n k i n g…” he says, as if speaking to a very rude policeman.

I mentioned this to his parents at parents evening and they laughed, looked at each other, shook their heads and said “Yes, that’s Stuart, we’re not sure if he’s very deep or…not,”

About three weeks ago I crouched down to put my laptop away in my rucksack at the end of the day when I felt a presence. I turned around and looked over my shoulder to see Stuart staring down at me, a look of determination and courage on his face.

“Can I help you Stuart?” I said.


“Me and Karen are doing a show. Do you want to come?” said Stuart.

“Karen and I. Hmmm, that sounds interesting Stuart, let me think about it,” I said.

Obviously, this means “No. I don’t want to come to a show. I don’t want to do anything in my spare time that has anything to do with any of you. I like you all at school. Quite a lot. But I am not yours to play with at the weekends too.”

“Ok,” said Stuart.

“Ok.” I said.

“Is there anything else Stuart?” I said.

“No,” said Stuart.

“Ok.” I said.

“Ok.” said Stuart.

“Goodnight Stuart, I’ve got to go and pick Elly up now.”

“Ok.” said Stuart.

“Ok.” I said.

“Goodnight Mr Trent,” said Stuart.

“Goodnight Stuart,” I said.

Most children would have left it at that. Most children would have given up.

At the end of the next day Stuart was back at my desk, same intense look, same questions, same protracted farewell.

My responses began to vary a little, to include the following…

“I’m terribly sorry Stuart, but I’ve got to dash…”

“Let me think about it Stuart.”

“Stuart, just go away, I’m very busy,”

“Could you take this to Mr Corpe please Stuart?”

“NO, NO, NO, NOT NOW STUART, BYE”

He tried asking me at the beginning of the day, He tried asking me as the children lined up for assembly, he tried asking me as the children came back from assembly and settled down for literacy. He tried asking me at the beginning of break time, at the end of breaktime, at the beginning of lunch time, at the end of lunchtime, at the beginning of the afternoon, at fruit break and at the end of the day.


Little notes saying things like “Mr Trent, will you come to Karen and me’s show, tick the box, Yes? No?” began appearing everywhere – on my desk, on my chair, in my pigeon hole, on the windcreen of my car and once, rather spectacularly, on the exact spot on the wall where I balance my coffee cup every Friday morning during play time duty.

It was at this point that I thought maybe Stuart deserved to be put out of his misery. I could say I’d go, ask him for the dates, time and venue then not show up...

1 comment:

fen smith said...

that's an awful situation. you should move towns at this point.

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