I have a little Femme Fatale in one of my classes. She is steadily inspiring me towards new modes of punishment, or at least the desire to do so. The other amazing thing is that she often appears at times when I am thinking or speaking of her [minimize screen]…

Oh what the heck, she doesn’t bother studying English anyway… This very special young lady was not a problem right from the start, which makes me feel like I somehow turned her into the hands of evil. She functions on an opposites-principle and therefore always does anything except what she is supposed to. She spreads my patience rather thinly, which is currently endangering my Mary Poppins rule of firm kindness…and her. Up to now, my training and experience in children’s theatre has allowed me boundless resources for maintaining the appearance of the ever-bubbly, fun-loving, always smiling western commodity that is the English Conversation Teacher.

I would rouse her from her sweet self-justified slumber by gently touching her shoulder. When she finally lifts her gentle head and looks over at me I would smile and warn her to pay attention, at which point she would smile at me sadistically while I pray for laser vision and a claw. This ritual has now evolved in her shrugging me off somewhat forcefully. The first time, I let it slide with just a warning look (praying for laser vision), which I hope communicated the low density ice she was skating on. The second warning resulted in a battle to get her to sit in a desk in the front of the class away from the other students, whom she was distracting. Today’s transgression got her into a verbal scuffle with the Korean teacher (details unclear).

I only wish I had the amoral fiber to just let her shoot herself in the foot. To leave her be, until she sleeps, plays and flirts her future away completely. Withhold from her my care or concern utterly until her memory of me is something from a dream. It would preserve my remaining energy for my equally deserving students who despite their equally difficult lives consider their teachers, human beings.

There are so many difficult students in this problem class, but with a little light discipline and some gentle correction, most have adjusted their behavior. All but one. What shall I say to the students who study so hard that their health hangs on a string? So many who are competing to get into good Universities?

I’m afraid, dear children, that your teacher is ripping at the seams and her stuffing is oozing out from between severed stitches. If you are looking for someone to blame, look for the girl with the stitch-unpick. Not sure who I’m looking at? My button-eyes have lost courage and lefty is half hanging slightly askew. Not even my furry terror detection tail is working anymore from over-use.