We had a few months before the end of the school year but this was only going to continue negatively.
Granted we were no longer being taught by a sexual predator but who we got in comparison I think I would have rather have Hannibal Lecter as a teacher.
We were all working away in class with Miss Brookfield supervising us and our new teacher came in to see us.
There was none of this hi I’m your new teacher there was none of that.
She came into class with the most horrendous scowl on her face she looked like she was here to fuck someone up.
Mr. Owen was showing her around this will be your new class they have a few months left before going into the third year that sort of thing.
Our new teacher was called Francesca and for the time she was a little bit of a celebrity.
As much as it pains me to say this it was much harder to be a celebrity back in the 80s as there were only 4 channels on TV.
Sky TV had just come on the scene but it was still in its infancy and was mainly showing movies or American TV shows.
Like many companies I don’t think they realised the potential hundreds of millions they could be making but that all changed years later.
Anyway, there is a news show in the UK on ITV which is still running called Granada Reports which is on TV Monday to Friday at 6 pm for thirty minutes.
It’s a mixture of news from across the country and the last ten minutes used to be local news for specific areas.
So Francesca at times was a presenter on this show.
This is all speculation but what I think happened is she got her journalism degree either that or media studies.
She was full of hope of making a difference and reporting the truth and being recognised for the hard-hitting journalist that she saw herself as.
Unfortunately, she could quite get the big break. This is not a reflection of herself but to break into TV and become a journalism sensation is not going to be easy.
She had two factors that went against her firstly she was a woman and this was the 80s.
As fucked up as it is all of these TV companies and many industries were owned and controlled by old white men.
They saw women as housewives and someone to look after the kids.
Sadly, many people have that attitude today but at least there are laws in place so it’s harder to discriminate against women trying to get ahead.
It didn’t help that Francesca was a local journalist as well.
Unless you uncover a really sinister story which is usually a right place right time scenario you are going to be reporting on flower shows and fashion shows for dogs for the foreseeable future.
This has to be soul-destroying even on a good day and there is the fact that there is a line of people waiting to take your place.
As there is a line of people waiting to jump into the hot seat I would imaging that you would have to eat a lot of shit and become a bit of a yes man, to say the least.
That has to hurt when you have just come from University and in your own mind are going to change the world.
One of the most recognised female journalists of our time is Kate Aidy.
The reason she was so successful is she was the first to jump on a plane and go to the most fucked up places in the world to report the facts.
She has been to many war zones and is all about getting the story.
She has won multiple awards and is very well respected in her field which is a difficult task to accomplish especially in that era.
We were supposed to meet Aidy in Kosovo but she had to leave a day early so we just missed that which made me sad as I’ve seen her on TV for many years.
Another reason why Aidy is so well respected is she will go deep into dangerous areas to try and get the full story.
This is probably all adrenaline-fuelled and over the years has become an addiction.
So many times I have watched the news and the reporter is stood on the roof of the Sheridan hotel reporting on the heavy fighting in Baghdad and within thirty seconds I turn off as anyone can do that and it just shows the difference in standards of journalism.
Now if you compare Kate Aidy with Francesca it’s pretty obvious why Aidy made it and Francesca didn’t.
So once again this is just speculation but I believe Francesca thought that she would be famous by now and was very resentful that she was working as a supply teacher to make ends meet.
Sure TV work does pay well but if you’re making an appearance every couple of weeks it’s going to be hard to pay the bills as well.
TV is a very dog-eat-dog world as well full of backstabbing and jealousy and worst of all nepotism.
If your friends with the right people you will get the push you need or it could be a case of if your face fits.
Many times there will be a vastly qualified expert who has pushed aside and replaced with a younger pretty face as that’s what the viewers want to see in the minds of the management.
None of what I’ve just written is a secret and I think even back then you had to know what you were getting yourself into to become famous like that.
So this is what baffles me Francesca clearly full of resentment takes the worst possible job for someone with an ego like hers and somehow manages to make it all the children’s fault.
When you break it down like this it just seems ridiculous.
That’s the equivalent of me screaming at my class full of Vietnamese kids for not getting my big break as a pop star.
Being a pop star would be nice but it has fuck all to do with the kids in my care so why would I give them a hard time about what I haven’t done.
These are all valid points but then I’m looking at this from a rational point of view and as I’ve mentioned in numerous other logs there were a lot of questionable people who were teachers back then.
So Francesca is scanning the room full of kids looking for possible threats like she had just spent 16 months in Mosul.
All of the kids are staring at her as we are curious who our new teacher is and if we are going to get some sort of normality back in our lives.
So in mid-speech, Francesca as she gets level with me says in quite a menacing voice
Who do you think you’re looking at there’s your book
She then slaps the back of my head so hard I had to put my hands out to stop my head from hitting the desk.
Chris Farmakis nervously laughed and said wow she just punched Arlo’s head.
Kate was straight in his face screaming
have you got something to say, have you?
No miss sorry
She then turned her attention to Trevor Steel
You yes you who are you looking at?
Trevor said nothing and just continued to work.
Mr. Owen didn’t see any of this as a problem as he was a horrible bully himself and I think in his defence he knew she was the best choice out of a bad lot.
It shows you how grim the choices had become when Mr. Owens deciding factor to keep a teacher is oh well at least she isn’t a sexual predator like the last teacher.
Francesca was reveling in her victory over the children and probably because she had not been reprimanded by Mr. Owen and shouted at everyone.
let that be a lesson to all of you.
You really don’t want to mess with me.
Now I’ve met some tough people in my time but it’s a special kind of tough to bully children and it also takes a special kind of person to think this is OK.
It’s because of teachers like this who do not get put in place which leads them to go too far and that’s why now there are many safeguards in place in the modern classroom.
There is a horrible saying which back then was so true. It still applies to many teachers now but back then it was a complete shit show.
“Those who can, can Those who can’t they teach
Even by modern-day standards, many people are simply smart board operators who have the balls to call themselves a teacher.
I don’t understand why these people exist. In my mind even if you’re a binman why wouldn’t you strive to be the best binman and better yourself?
In my old company in Vietnam, they haven’t paid their staff properly for over a year and many of the teachers have just accepted this and continued to eat shit.
I will talk about this company more in later blogs but it just reinforces my point about the calibre of so many people who undertake what I see is a very noble job.
If I was Francesca I would have jumped on the plane to Iran or Iraq but then there is a world apart that separates me from her.
I don’t need to list my achievements or what I have done I can simply get to checkmate by the fact I don’t hit kids nor am I full of resentment and self-hatred.
So we began regular classes with Francesca and she used the amazing stand at the front of the class and talk at us approach which we had become accustomed to this year.
If anyone asked a question she would start shouting at them telling them there were not listening and that they needed to pay more attention.
If anyone was stupid enough to be caught not listening as sometimes happens with 9 years olds she would have a full meltdown in front of the class screaming at the poor terrified kid who got distracted.
I can never understand where all of this hatred and anger comes from?
Granted I’ve taught some kids who could be arseholes.
It was never personal with them they were just kids.
They didn’t want to be there and their parents were making them take extra classes so it was understandable.
I think the only time I’ve shouted at one of the kids is when one of my students punched a much smaller kid in the stomach and the smaller kid was in tears.
The kid was being a bully and I shouted at him and sent him out and he was in tears himself as he didn’t expect to be shouted at so viciously.
It seriously disrupted my lesson and the smaller kid would not stop crying.
It was all resolved and the kid Ronaldo (they choose their names) was OK after that.
I never held a grudge against him or come to work in a bad mood why would I bring all of my issues into a room full of kids and poison them.
I think many people can’t accept that 90 percent of their problems are self-created and can never be honest with themselves so they end up more jaded and resentful.
So we were all working out of a book and all in silence as we were not allowed to talk especially in the presence of such a celebrity as Francesca
If we asked about Granada Reports or the TV she was happy to talk about herself in detail but most other things were off-limits.
Glynn Roberts gets up and walks over to the bin and sharpens his pencil.
Francesca shouts at him to sit down right now and he answers her saying I was only sharpening my pencil.
Who are you talking to she screams at Glynn running across the room. She grabs him by his blazer and she keeps smashing him against the blackboard.
She’s shouting at him and smashing him into the board and Glynn is covered in chalk.
After a full minute of this Glynn is sent to Mr. Owen looking like a modern art project.
Mr. Owen still not seeing any red flags give Glynn a bollocking and he was sent back to class probably with a concussion.
Any chance we upset Francesca we were sent straight to the headmaster’s office and Mr. Owen never thought for a second how has the number of visits to my office gone up by 300 percent?
He was more interested in having a quiet life and doing as little as possible.
He couldn’t ignore Mr. Moore and his behaviour as if he had touched one of us then it would have made the papers then Mr. Owen would have been put under the microscope.
Francesca the bully was OK as there were plenty of teachers like her.
He also hit kids all the time which I found out a little later once again ill say that it takes a special type of tough guy to hit a child.
I remember one day we were reading Charlie and the chocolate factory and Andy Edgar said to me when you get old your going to look like Grandpa Joe.
Trev Steel, Chris, and I all laughed next thing we heard the screech of Francesca
I was only joking
Then we all got sent to the office and the three of us got another bollocking by Mr. Owen.
Mr. Owen was tired of shouting at kids by now and even more pissed off that he had to do some work so he decided enough was enough.
Instead of dealing with the problem he took a different approach and came to our classroom.
He stood at the front and shouted at everyone telling us the next person who was sent to the office would be suspended and that we would all be in big trouble.
Like most bullies, he thought shouting the loudest with a headteacher title that’s all he needed to get respect.
He was also relying on fear and intimidation from both Francesca and from him to keep us in line.
He was not a fan of hers but he was sick of looking for new teachers and he figured she will be gone in a few months.
School got much worse and every time I went to the front of the class to get my work check she would put a line through it and make me start it again after telling me I was stupid and it was my fault for not listening.
She was right about me not listening but I was becoming more withdrawn and I really couldn’t stand her she was awful.
Even as a kid I had figured out I would just keep having to do the same thing over and over again so it didn’t make any difference if I listened or not.
A couple of times my mum came up to talk to her and she claimed she liked me and I was really intelligent.
I knew what I was talking about and I could answer most questions but due to my dyslexia, I couldn’t put it on paper.
Also any work we had to do I would have to do it over and over again and made it look stupid so I just used to fuck about I had nothing to lose.
One day Francesca was in a foul mood maybe because she still wasn’t famous and threw my book on the floor.
She screamed that my work was rubbish and I was the worst student she had ever seen.
I went and sat down and she stood over me screaming at me to pick my book up and I wouldn’t I just sat looking at the floor and after 5 minutes of this, I was sent to the office where I was sure I would be suspended.
Unfortunately, Mr. Owen’s hands were tied as 13 people were sent to the office that day and there is no way you can suspend 13 kids without an investigation even in the 80s.
So we were all sent back to class and that was a huge black mark against me which Francesca took very personally.
How fucking dare I even talk back to her let alone stand up for myself and believe me she was furious.
Every day someone would do something to upset her and there would be a different person in the class being shouted at in front of everyone and being accused of something trivial like stealing a pencil.
Most of the time the person being accused hadn’t done it but after 10 minutes of her screaming at you that you had done it, you just admitted it so you could sit down.
She had many of my classmates including myself in tears on many occasions and then I noticed that she was getting power from this and in her own fucked up way was getting off on it.
She was screaming at me one day over god knows what and I was just looking through her.
She shouted louder and louder and she raised her hand like she was going to punch me and I just stared right through her and there was panic in her eyes.
She pretended to fix her hair then told me to sit down and then the usual you will never amount to anything speech.
She started to slowly lose her power and she never became friendly but she did chill out a lot as when she went on these rants everyone was watching her and learning her patterns.
When everyone is watching a demon like this they learn what to do so the class in their way started standing up to her as I did.
She even started marking my work. She never checked it but gave a big tick and a smiley face because in her mind I would be too stupid to know the difference.
One thing that bugs me about people like this is they judge you by their horrible standards and think everyone in the world is like that and they are genuinely hard done by.
They could not for a second take any responsibility for their circumstances nor could they see the bad energy they are putting out they just want to take take take.
The last week of the school year she brought sweets in for us all which was nice and said goodbye.
I don’t know what happened to her but she never became famous and I hope to god it was her last teaching job.
I found Francesca on Facebook a few years ago and I wanted to lay some old ghosts to rest.
I asked her if it was the same Francesca who used to teach me at school.
I knew it was as I will never forget her face but I needed an ice breaker.
She saw the message but never responded then changed her profile so people could not send her friend requests after declining mine.
I’m not going to lie it wasn’t easy writing this but I haven’t been grinding an axe for her for years.
When I messaged her it was from a good place so we could at least try and put some of our issues to bed.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t interested and maybe she’s ashamed of her actions?
To be that angry at the world and to have that much rage and anger inside of you isn’t good for your soul.
I hope that whatever she ended up doing she’s at peace and has done a lot of work on herself.
Her profile was private but you can see a couple of pictures and all I know is she’s a mum now and I hope she has not passed on this black cloud.
I will leave you all with a quote from the Dali Lama which is shown in the picture below
We can all have a bad day and we can all lose our temper but please think about what you’re putting out in the world and if it’s positive.
Always try to give something back as the smallest thing can make the biggest difference in someone’s life.
You don’t have to be Mother Teresa and granted we can’t help everyone but we can all help someone.
If your screaming at everyone around you and people are walking away from you in droves you got to think to yourself maybe I’m the problem.
Don’t become the tortured genius as that is a very lonely road to endure.
I spoke to my mate Chris Farmakis and he told me my obvious mistake. He told me her name was Francesca not Kate which ive changed in the text. I also found out shes still a local reporter and now works as a yoga teacher as well.
I cant find her on Facebook but I would love to put our differences aside and who knows we may even become friends. Stranger things have happened. You have to love the power of the internet. It took me ten minutes when I had the right name.
I would love to think that now shes a yoga teacher she has left that ego behind and faced a lot of her own demons. As much as the devil on my shoulder tells me to condemn her I like to think she is a very different person now. If I can change then there is hope for anyone.