The thought of slapping every single one of my students in the face brings me a strange sense of comfort. So I hold on to that thought, playing it out further in my mind, imagining the logistics of such a therapeutic exercise. Do I get them to line up, each taking a step toward me for their much deserved punishment? Even better, do I get the whole school in the assembly hall, making it more ceremonial? I smile at the thought of the slap echoing across the hall, causing everyone to flinch in terror as they imagine their own face being dealt with in the same manner. In fact, perhaps I slap them in front of a microphone, so that the sound of the impact can better bounce off the walls and reverberate into their petrified hearts? Do I alternate hands after each slap? Do I give some students more than one slap? Bullies would have to get more. Do I slap the girls as hard as the boys? Do I slap my colleagues as well? Fuck yes, of course I do.
I try my best to hold on to these thoughts, but my withdrawal, the pain, the throbbing pain in my legs, it’s merciless. My perspiration too is demanding my attention. I wipe the back of my neck with tissues again, it’s a losing battle, my shirt collar is already soaked with sweat. I regret coming into work. I shouldn’t be here, crashing hard in a classroom full of high school students, I should be at home.
I need a distraction.
I take out my phone and login to my chess app.
I look up at Joanna.
“Do you want us to do all the questions?” she asked.
You stupid bitch, it’s a test.
“Yes” I replied, as I watch the chess.com app searching available profiles for my opponent.
I‘m hoping Joanna will not be a problem. The whole point of giving my students this bullshit test was to be left alone. I’m in no condition to teach these fuckers.
Fuck me dead.
“Yes Joanna” I replied, trying not to squint in pain at what would no doubt be another stupid question.
“I need more space, is it okay if I write my answers on the back page? There’s no lines there though.”
“That’s fine” I answered.
I looked back down at my screen. I have an opponent, someone from Morocco. Both of us make our first moves quickly. His next move was a King’s gambit. Hmm, Kings gambit. I saw a YouTube video once on this move, and how to counter it. I relished the opportunity to try out the moves I saw in this video.
“But there’s no lines” Joanna whined, interrupting my game.
I look up and see her with open palms, as if to indicate she was stuck in a conundrum.
“Yea? And?”, I ask, exaggerating my confused look. I mimic Joanna’s open palms pointing to the heavens, “Your not in primary school, you don’t need lines to write”.
I look back down at my screen, hoping that will be the end of it.
I move my Bishop to E7. The guy from Morocco quickly responded with Pawn to G3, blocking my check from the Bishop.
“It won’t be straight”.
I hear her voice, her annoying voice, but I don’t bother looking back up. I can already imagine her hands are still open, waiting for a solution to her very very important question.
I ignore her, doing my best to stay focused on the game.
Hmmm, G3 huh? Is this the counter to the counter? The guy in the video didn’t pose this scenario.
The clock was ticking down. I remembered why I hate three minute games, no time to think. I should have made a move by now.
“It won’t be straight”
This uppity bitch.
I jump to my feet, and briskly make my way over to her desk.
That was stupid, my body violently screamed in protest at my lack of understanding at what my body can and can’t do in this condition. I could feel bubbles of perspiration on my forehead, climbing on top of one another.
I immediately regret moving so quickly, but I have this thing I do, the faster I move my body, the less likely I’ll say something nasty. I really need another tactic though, because when I move like that, some of my students look like they’ve just shit their pants. Some pretend to be scared, putting their hands on their heart, exaggerating their fear in a light hearted gesture, but there’s always one or two that seem to freeze in a genuine state of shock. Joanna was one of them. I did not give a fuck though.
I pick up her exercise book. Wow, look at that! Lined fucking pages!
I attempt to rip a page out but instead, I rip the page in half. It takes me another three fucking tries before I successfully rip out a whole page. Muffled giggles could be heard. No doubt the students were enjoying their teacher lose his shit, and the honest truth is, at that point, I just did not give a fuck.
I violently grab Joanna’s pencil case and start to rummage through it as though she had some oxycodone pills in there. This organised holier-than-thou egotistical bitch will definitely have a stapler. She does. One of those tiny staplers that wouldn’t take up too much space. Very efficient I must say. I take it out the stapler. I pick up her test. I put the lined paper I ripped out behind the test. I hold the long sides of the pages in each hand, and hit the short side on the table, as loud as a can, making sure that the lined page I ripped out was perfectly aligned with the test pages. It needed to be perfect for little Ms Goody Goody. While all the page edges were lined up as close as they could possibly be, I kept banging the edge of those pages anyway, wishing it was Joanne’s head, looking at her eyes the whole time. She would not dare look at me though. I then get her pretty little stapler and staple that fucking lined page to the back of her test. I fling her test paper down, yet my wrist action had a little too much force of frustration behind it. The test slid off the table and on to the floor. It was at that moment, when the test fell on the floor, and she went to pick it up herself, I felt kind of .. bad. I felt worse when sat back on her chair, not daring to say a word, looking down .. looking down because she did not want to reveal the subtle hint of wetness in her eyes. As annoying as she was, seeing those eyes .. it made me ridden with guilt.
I lost my cool. Fuck n’ hell. I need to make amends.
It needs to be later though. I don’t want her to get too comfortable again so quickly. There is still just under thirty minutes left of class. I just need be left alone.
I look back at the chessboard. Shit, I’m down to twenty three seconds on the clock.
With not enough time left, and me still feeling shitty, I resign from the game and close the app.
That recurring thought enters my mind again – I’m in the wrong profession, why did I get into it in the first place?
I struggle to remember.