Every person who frequents Bosco Orphanage is assigned a “best boy.” At least, that’s what I think happens. The matrons, who care for the boys when they are not at school, may have a slightly different pattern than those of us who are teachers, but I think the same rules apply. A “best boy”, from what I can understand, is a specific boy assigned by the other boys at the orphanage to a teacher. It’s nothing official by any means, just hearsay and rumors passed around between the kids, but it’s fascinating to watch unfold. I’ve been assigned two best boys so far. I’m not sure if you’re technically allowed to have more than one best boy at a time, but I think the boys were just unable to place which boy was my favorite. Or, at least, the boy who appears to be my favorite. From what I have observed, in order to have a best boy appointed to you, you have to show genuine favoritism towards them and they have to show affection toward you. It needs to be a two way street. I think I was on the road to having a best boy from my class at the beginning of the year, but that fizzled out pretty quickly when it became obvious that I wouldn’t be “playing favorites.”
The general population of the orphanage seems to be split on who my best boy is. That may be why I have two. One boy is a third grader who I enjoy paling around with, but who also is genuinely just in the mix with the rest of the third grade whenever I’m around him. Perhaps it was his third grade buddies who took note of the fact that he and I seem to understand each other a little more than some of the other boys. My second best boy is a sixth grader. Every sixth grader at Bosco Academy could use a little individual attention, in my opinion. In this particular boys case, the opportunity has presented itself time and time again for me to step in and attempt to have some sort of influence over him. Like many of the other older boys, he’s a trouble maker, but he does seem to respond to the scowls or looks of disgust on my face each time he takes note of me catching him in the act of doing something he shouldn’t be doing. If I can get him to feel disappointed in himself for poor behavior just because I’ve caught him doing something than I think it’s best that he’s my “best.” What’s fun about him too, is that he comes to the swimming pool every other Saturday, and he doesn’t know how to swim, so I’ve had the adorable honor of acquainting him with the deep end. I’ve had such a blast teaching the little guy how to swim. You can never let your guard down with a kid in water, if they stop trusting you, you’re never going to get them to not fear deep water—just a side note.
So that’s just an interesting little side note that I picked up on over my first few weeks of work. It’s a fascinating little social quirk that exists among the boys. What I love most about it is that it isn’t a big secret, but it also isn’t readily talked about. I’ve been flat out told before, “Sir, your best boy is outside.” It’s just something that every boy knows exists and something that they talk about from time to time, which in turn, actually ends up create this whole idea of “best boy.” So far, I’ve taken note of a couple other best boys that the other teachers have. It’s kind of a fun game to play as I observe the politics of our little school, day after day.