19 May 2006


Flowers for Kayin Prince
A while back, I included a letter in this blog. It was a real letter that I had sent to the parents of a fifteen year old "student" with a long history of unwelcome behaviour - who launched a foul and unjustifiable verbal assault upon me. I referred to him as "Warthog" (see "Letter" in March posts). He was excluded from school for five days and then returned as bad as ever. Last week, two female colleagues called me to a corridor situation where the warthog had ripped some panelling off the wall - an act of mindless vandalism - and was then grinningly denying it. I investigated this incident, interviewed pupil witnesses and then spent half an hour filing a detailed report - the result being zilch! The oaf was back in school the next day being as obnoxious as ever.
Today, in the school's morning briefing, it was announced that arrangements are being crafted to take the warthog out of school for two days each week on a work placement scheme - and there's hope that this may be extended to five days shortly.
Warthog is just one of the horrible, arrogant shits that well-meaning teachers like me have to deal with each day. They are full of themselves, lazy, often "damaged" by marital break-ups, kids who haven't done anything or seen anything but imagine they know everything. To counterbalance this unpleasantness, yesterday I received a bottle of malt whiskey and a card from Stacey who I have taught for five years. This is what she wrote in the card:-
Dear Mr Pudding,
Thank you for all your help over the past five years. It has been much appreciated and it has been a pleasure to be in your class.
Even when I found things difficult or didn't quite understand, you were always there to help me out. I will miss you! Thank you for everything!
Love, Stacey H (Class of 2001 - 2006)
Such responses ought to be worth their weight in gold but you find yourself thinking more about the warthogs than you do about princesses like Stacey. Yesterday, a fifteen year old boy - Kayin Prince - was stabbed to death outside a school in north London. May he rest in peace and may the British government and British society in general start to really address this cancer of youthful disdain and ominous ill-discipline in our midst - instead of making excuses and tinkering with the wrapping paper. We need a sea change.

Kayin Prince (1991 - 2006) - gifted footballer - he was helping to break up a fight.


  1. There are two warthogs in my youngest's English (Language Arts) class, this year. A girl and a boy. Both have been suspended enough times to warrant expulsion, but the school's zero tolerance rule has loopholes. The parents are wise enough to find and extort those loopholes, but not wise enough to punish or teach their children adequately. Such a shame, indeed. Little A says both warthogs will be back to class next week. She says she hopes they fight one another, rather than other children. I'm actually with her on this one.

    May Kayin rest in peace. A young life lost is always heartbreaking. Especially after witnessing other children ignore the beauty and enjoyment of a successful childhood.

  2. I've always said that teachers should be made into saints. I don't know how you do it, I would never have the patience. Most of the students are there to learn but unfortunately there will always be a "warthog" or two who will do anything to disrupt a class and cause any kind of trouble they can think of. Learning is such a gift but they just throw it away without a second glance. I admire teachers and I have no doubt that it can be a thankless job!!

  3. Two such warthogs cased our house last Sunday, thinking we weren't home. As it turns out, these warthogs have been brought in by police numerous times, but the juvenile courts are toothless. They say, "These kids are from broken homes," and release them without any intervention to help them change their situations. As vengeful as I feel, I am all for rehabilitation, but REHABILITATE, dammit, and don't just take my tax dollars.

    I disliked school a great deal, but it wasn't because of the teachers. Sure, there were a few bitter turkeys, but by and large, I was blessed with a constant string of dedicated teachers working way above and beyond what their contracts and salaries warranted. We don't forget our good teachers. You're what help us through the rough terrain.

    Blessings upon Kayin and his family.

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  5. I totally agree with you. Hearing your story about this guy brings to mind the Story of a School headmaster who was stabbed to death a few years ago, as a result of trying to break up a fight.

    If teachers are no longer safe when teaching kids, then what hope is there for the rest of the world?

  6. Dear Joe Miller 7973222309, I have a "college degree" thank you very much and I had to work damned hard for it so why don't you take a long walk of a short pier you moneymad jerk!

  7. Me too BFA, BS and MAed
    I'm grieved about the young man. I am grieved for our world and the shit that's going on in it.
    Teaching in one of the worlds largest "project"( not exactly in the project but most of my students were from it) I saw a lot. These were children ages 11 to 14, knowing things seeing things, doing things that adults have hard times dealing with. One of my students was prostituted by her mother. A couple had parole agents. On's father was in jail for abuse.
    I only had 40 students total. It's the parents fault. their parents, and their parents.
    As Prince said.. this world needs an enema.

  8. that chap seems like he was a fine young fellow by all accounts with a great future ahead. Having said that nobody should have to fear being murdered outside the schoolgates. what a waste of a life. I don't often feel terribly moved personally by news events, except anger perhaps, but I find this very saddening indeed.

  9. I dropped my lad off at school on Friday and was amazed to see youngsters standing around the main entrance openly smoking and generally being chavvy, Of course there was smoking when I was at school, but at least there was an attempt to do so secretly because you knew that, if caught, you were for it. Rules are unenforcable without sanctions and without sanctions, young people push back the boundaries of behaviour.

  10. Sanctions yes ShootParrot but also motivation - the sense that what is happening here and now matters and it will lead to something better...
    Back to sanctions - two years ago at lunchtime I bellowed at a boy for repeatedly switching the corridor light on and off. He ran home to get his dad who stormed up to school saying "Mark doesn;t like people shouting at him!" The stupid nonce! But what hope is there when teachers can't even raise their voices to describe the boundaries of good discipline?


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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