I had an interesting day today.
I worked with the older kids which I love. First up we went into Woolies and bought ingredients for our cooking in the middle session. One girl didn't know what a zucchini was! My Mum and Dad were down there doing their shopping and one of my students wanted to be introduced to them. She is always so friendly and very sweet. We got back for morning tea, and then cooked our macaroni cheese. It looked great and the kids really enjoyed making it and eating it. One girl, (the one who didn't know what a zucchini was) was already getting a rather glazed 'switched off' look about her, when I asked her to wait for her class mates. I don't know this girl's history, but knew it wasn't good - had to be a good reason why a young girl was in an independent living situation.
In the afternoon we went to a session where the kids do drumming. We were sitting waiting for the guy to come who was running it. I asked the girl to sit still and keep her hands to herself. When the lesson commenced, I asked her again. That glazed look was strong - she told me I was an idiot......more than once, and this was yelled. I walked away, and consulted with my assistant. I knew this behaviour wasn't acceptable, but wanted to handle it properly. I quietly returned to her, bobbed down beside her, and spoke very quietly ( so as not to disturb the class, nor to draw too much attention to her). I kept my voice low and by bobbing right down, I was not an intimidating threat at all. Unfortunately, by being so unintimidating, it gave her a nice opportunity for her to yell at me to F*ck off and then whack me one. A huge open handed slap on the shoulder - so hard it stung, and I couldn't believe I didn't fall over. I got up and walked away.I had a witness, my assistant so that's always good. I spoke to another teacher, she took over from me as we both knew it unwise for me to re enter the room. Unfortunately the student just lost it, attacked the other teacher and whacked another student in the side of the head. One of the other big boys was so upset, I found him sitting on a bench, just sobbing into his hands. He settled down and went back to drumming. The girl who assaulted us, settled down quickly and went home. No doubt nothing will happen to her. Apparently she has endured horrors and abuse more horrible than I can imagine. She was like a caged animal, and did the only thing she knew how to do - fight back and get out! It will be interesting to see what happens when I see her again.
I learnt something about myself - one of those things you never really know until it happens to you. She struck me, and there wasn't a single thought in my head of hitting her back. I had no anger - none whatsoever.
I walked out, filled in the appropriate paper work, put an ice pack on my shoulder for a bit and went and picked up my kids.