Saturday 30 July 2011

Reading the riot act or staring into the middle distance

Fr Ray has a post about meeting things in the public square, so to speak.

Round these parts you don't see in the street what what he describes, though blogwise I do not have far to look to find the equivalent.

What does happen to me is that various conversations arise in which I have the three options faced by teachers in the classroom continually.

Everything that happens in a classroom you either:-

condemn - by glaring, pointing, walking towards, raising voice a bit (OK A LOT), giving lines to, detentions to, sending out of the room...
condone - by doing nothing
or encourage, by praising, smiling, giving time to.....

And yes, by condoning you can encourage too. It's potentially the lazy one. In a good school one pupil doing something does nor cause an avalanche, elsewhere the whole place can blow in 30 seconds, or less. It's taken me years not to come down like a house of bricks on one boy who is stacking the contents of his pencil case up into some interesting creation at the end of an exam, on the basis that 25 others will be copying him in seconds, because by and large they aren't going to be. It's like having teaching PTSD. During what my Mum terms, les annees noires, my worst imaginings were exceeded on so many occasions that I'm a little oversensitised.

But this wasn't about work, as such, because the classroom is fine and I have my script for things that I'm not going to have, off pat. Anything immoral, generally comes under, 'Don't make personal comments,' and thankfully not much along those lines occurs, so it never gets to the point where further action has to be taken.

It was about the other times, when I have to be around and a conversation takes a wrong turn and there we are, everyone else is laughing and I'm not, again.

An example. Someone got married and was describing the day. Someone asked after the best man and the bride said, 'Ask X, she knows all about him.' Peels of laughter. X was sitting right there and had clearly spent the night with the best man. I didn't laugh and then it appeared that I was being judgemental, or disapproving, or something bad. Actually, X had recently split up with her fiance and I was thinking how sad she must have been and how awful you must feel to end up (undoubtedly getting very drunk,) and then doing that at a wedding, or indeed at all and for it to be treated so lightly in public. My silence did not go unnoticed and X made a sheepish comment and I mumbled something, whist wishing to be anywhere else.

And so it goes on.

The general culture is not slipping away, what I encounter, is gone.

I was chatting to a guy in an orchestra a while back and he started talking about the scientologists and I was about to make a flippant comment about aliens and spaceships when he said that he'd been into one of their bookshops and got chatting to the people there. He was just at a bit of a loss, really.

And my final anecdote on the, not believing something and believing anything line of thinking, is about the coloured water advert by my local station. Different bottles in different colours called Neuro this and that. Sounds so scientific and plausible and the bottles are a pleasing shape. Have they been blind tested, I wonder? OK have now read a review of them (reading reviews of soft drinks... saddo...,) and they appear to contain a lot of caffeine, apart, presumably, from the one that's supposed to make you go to sleep. I have an interest in coloured water because finding something nice, without being cloyingly sweet, to drink when driving is one of life's many little battles. The bottles look nice. If they were glass my sister-in-law would be saving them up as table decorations.

Anyway, back to the threeway choice. Number 3 is discounted because this is a situation where something bad is being said. This just leaves 1 and 2 as options. I think, contrary to Michael Voris, that 2 does have an effect. People always notice when you do not agree with them, but if you say nothing they will not get why. In Britain out and out contradiction does not go down well. That said, I find that in certain circles, conversations are so nuanced that I don't really know what's going on at all. I need Neuroclear.

Unfortunately, by putting on my invisibility coat and pretending I'm not there, as the conversation goes on around me, Catholicism can retreat a little further from the possibl range of responses and it becomes a little bit more acceptable to depart from Catholic moral teaching. Or maybe X thought better of it. She did look pretty sheepish.

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