Hostage

Today was the final day of my third summer camp. As usual, foreign teachers had to give the students speaking tests in the morning. I sat outside my classroom while the students watched a movie and then one-by-one they came out to talk to me for a few minutes each. It’s not much of a test – just a conversation – and even the students who can’t answer any questions get a B.

The teaching assistant was supposed to watch the students while I was doing the tests but, being the mentally retarded little bitch that she is, she went off to buy a drink and left them unattended. I don’t know what happened next but when I walked into the classroom to get the next student, the film was no longer on and there was a crowd forming around the teacher’s desk. I asked them why the film was turned off and a student told me that my computer had been knocked on the floor. The screen was smashed up and the hinge was cracked.

Having a new computer destroyed is annoying, but the fact that it probably wouldn’t have happened had the teaching assistant been controlling the students was far more aggravating.

When the teaching assistant returned I criticised her for leaving the students unattended and soon there was a gaggle of young girls who worked at the camp – none of whom spoke good enough English to keep me in the loop – trying to resolve the situation. The boy who knocked the computer off the desk looked teary-eyed and shell-shocked. He was told not to leave while they decided what to do (his mother was waiting outside for him). He sat on the floor in silence. A hostage. I requested to speak to the camp director to get the situation resolved quickly but nobody could find him.

Eventually, he appeared and I told him what had happened and said that I felt that if anyone was responsible, it was the school as they had not adequately supervised the students. He made it very clear that the school would not pay anything to fix the computer. I’ve worked for this company long enough to know that they’re tighter than a nun’s arsehole and won’t spend a penny more than bare minimum, so it wasn’t a surprise. He said that the best thing to do was to get the mother to pay.

I felt very uncomfortable about this. Her thirteen year old son’s boisterousness was only one factor in the damaging of the computer. He shouldn’t have been left unattended. The mother coughed up the ransom without too much fuss. She never looked angry with her son or phased by the situation. Perhaps she was so wealthy that it didn’t register. But I still felt awful to be taking her money.

Someone took the computer to be fixed straight away and I had it back by the end of the day. The casing is still cracked and the new screen is not as good as the previous one, but it’s essentially fine. But I can’t stop thinking about that miserable little hostage.

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