As we get to the end of week 3 I think (through my regular forays in the corridor and my obsessive stomping of the yard) I have now identified the ‘characters’ in this year’s year 7 cohort. These are the students that you can’t help but like. The ones whom, even as your head explodes with incandescent fury, their smile and cheeky charm will see you warm to them. These students are imprinted in my mind and are probably the young people that I remember most vividly in my career. When they eventually leave us we will miss them; we will also be relieved that we no longer have to teach them.

Likeability is a great weapon and can be used for good, or for malice. Likeable young people often understand the grey areas and are experts at playing mummy off against daddy, they will also understand how to chuck a hand grenade into carefully planned lessons or how to wind up the kid that explodes. Their likeability is what makes them special and if focused, moulded and polished, can see them become particularly important to their families and communities. I am sure we will learn much about this year’s rogues gallery and I am sure that once again we will make them successful.

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