Lesson 84 on Getting your own way…not
Writing about Amarjeet reminded me of one of her classmates. At the time I was responsible for them there was still a widely held stereotype of Asian girls. They were obedient, quiet and demure. Shabana, however, had been sent to dispel this myth single-handed.
There were a lot of things Shabana didn’t like about school, most aspects of school work in fact. She complained bitterly and loudly when her teachers suggested she put pen to paper. She made a determined attempt to claim her English was so poor she ought to be in my group, because she couldn’t understand what her teachers were asking her to do. Her very vocal disputes with other pupils betrayed her. Her colourful use of colloquial English enlivened many a lunch hour.
She next took to visiting Mrs Nurse with a range of imaginative symptoms particularly during Maths lessons. As far as PE was concerned she had more frequent and more painful periods than any other girl on the planet and swore blind that this was a condition that ran in her family.
But she soon fell out with Mrs Nurse over the planned rubella immunisation. This must only recently have been introduced, because the whole school was being done. Shabana set her heart against it. Nobody was going to stick any needle in her arm!
On the day of the injections Shabana went missing as soon as it came to her class’s turn. Mrs Nurse was not pleased. It was a hard enough task organising the orderly lining up of class after class of nervous girls and getting them to the doctor without bouts of minor hysteria breaking out.
Leaving the class under my watchful eye, Mrs Nurse went on a Shabana hunt. She wore a grim expression. The class forgot their own fears in anticipation of an entertaining showdown. They were not disappointed. Soon a furious shrieking and yelling was heard approaching from a distance. Shabana’s impressive command of the vernacular was much in evidence.
To everybody’s delight Mrs Nurse appeared with Shabana, holding her arm in an extremely firm grasp and half marched, half dragged her, still protesting, past the queue of waiting girls and straight into the doctor, where her shrieks continued. Over the yelling we heard Nurse.
“Be quiet, Shabana! Doctor’s done it! It’s over!”
There was a sudden silence. But Shabana was not one to lose face.
“Huh!” she snorted dismissively as she emerged from the room tossing her head.
“See!” she addressed her awestruck audience. “Didn’t hurt at all!”
And she stalked off down the corridor without a backward glance.
It’s just as well nobody had mobile phones in those days, or we’d all have ended up in court.
On the other hand we might have made a fortune on YouTube.