Tag Archives: class

1879. Really, really dumb

Let’s face it: Melvyn was dumb. Even his teacher, who tried her best to be nice, thought he was dumb. “Your child is dumb,” she said to Melvyn’s parents. “Really, really dumb.” It made no difference, because Melvyn took after his parents. They were dumb too.

His teacher would spend half an hour explaining to her students why grass was green, and at the end of all this Melvyn would put up his hand and ask, “Miss, why is grass green?” Not just dumb, but aggravating. Away with the fairies.

His exercise books were incomprehensible. They were a mess of doodles and numbers. Call that arithmetic? Goodness gracious! The sooner this child left school and got a job clearing the city’s sewerage system the better.

Then one day, Melvyn put up his hand and asked the teacher, “What happens if, when you loop one quantum particle around another, you don’t get back to the same quantum state?”

The teacher told Melvyn to get back to doing his work.

Let’s face it: the teacher was dumb. Even Melvyn, who tried his best to be nice, thought she was dumb. “My teacher is dumb,” Melvyn said to his parents. “Really, really dumb.”

And indeed she was – in more ways than one.

1871. Good morning, Creative Writing Class

The Head of the Laboratory was an arch-bastard. His name was Regis. As his name suggests, he thought he was King of the Roost. He ruled the laboratory technicians with an iron fist. They hated him, but the laboratory had such an extraordinary reputation that everyone under the sun wanted to work there.

This was the laboratory that pioneered taking bones of long dead creatures, especially humans, putting them together, and bringing them to life. This might sound ridiculous but it is four hundred years ahead of where you, Dear Creative Writing Class, are currently sitting in your backward and immovable mind set.

Regis decreed that his bones should be reassembled and infused with life. He was not particularly enamoured with the thought of getting old, so he did himself in, and he left specific instructions that he was to be immediately reassembled.

I know what you’re thinking, Dear Creative Writing Class. You’re thinking that the laboratory technicians refused to put him back together. You would be wrong. Perhaps you’re thinking that the laboratory technicians muddled his bones up with those of a crocodile or something. You would be wrong. Perhaps they put his legs on backwards. You would be wrong.

No! What happened was this:

 

1813. It’s all in the telling

Every scar tells a story. Barry knew that. It’s why he wore his shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Everyone in the classes he taught would see the scar that ran up the underside of his arm from the wrist to the elbow.

“How did you get the scar, sir?” asked a pupil in his algebra class.

“It’s a scar from when I got by-pass surgery done on my heart,” said Barry. “They take a blood vessel out of your arm and replace a clogged up blood vessel that goes into the heart. It’s quite a common operation.”

No one believed him. It’s all in the telling. Barry knew that the real story would leak out; how he and his now ex-wife were visiting the zoo and his wife had shoved Barry towards an over-excited chimpanzee. The chimp tried to protect its baby and clawed Barry on the arm leaving blood everywhere and in the long run a permanent scar.

“How did you get the scar, sir?” asked a pupil in the following year’s algebra class.

“It’s a scar from when I got by-pass surgery done on my heart,” said Barry.

No one believed him. It’s all in the telling. Barry knew that the real story would leak out; how he had been leading the famous car race in the Isle of Man when his vehicle skidded off the road and into a tree. The accident required extensive surgery to his arm.

“How did you get the scar, sir?” asked a pupil in the following year’s algebra class.

“It’s a scar from when I got by-pass surgery done on my heart,” said Barry.

No one believed him. It’s all in the telling. Barry knew that the real story would leak out; how he had jumped between a mad gunman and a little old lady. He saved the lady, but the bullet grazed his arm and it required surgery.

“How did you get the scar, sir?” asked a pupil in the following year’s algebra class.

1796. Chocolates for grandparents

Now children, it’s a day to celebrate your grandparents. Grandparents Day! I never had a grandparent myself. They were all dead before I was born except for one grandmother and she was really nasty. In fact, she was in prison for poisoning my grandfather. She poisoned him by injecting weed-killer into homemade chocolates. I was always jealous of those who had proper grandparents. I hated it when other kids talked about their grandparents and how nice they were.

Anyway, I want those who have four grandparents living nearby to form a line here. And those with three grandparents living nearby to form a line here. Those with two grandparents living nearby to form a line here. Those with one grandparent living nearby to form a line here. And those with no grandparents can go outside and play.

I have a basket of chocolates and, depending on what line you are in, you are to take one, two, three, or four chocolates. After school today I want you to go and visit your grandparents and surprise them with a chocolate each for Grandparents’ Day.

I made the chocolates myself using a recipe my grandmother used.

1725. Perambulators

Bronwyn and Myra belongs to the New Mothers Support Group. One of the things the Group facilitated was for young mothers to go for interesting walks together, chat away, share mutual baby problems, and push their babies in the perambulators.

Bronwyn and Myra lived in quite a small town, so it was logical that most days they joined for a stroll. Mainly they would window shop. Sometimes they would go to see things inside a shop but the bulkiness of the perambulators precluded many cramped shopping spaces. They had walked up and down the town’s shopping centre a hundred times. There was only one shop window they had never paused before: the Undertaker’s.

It’s hard to believe that anyone would put coffins in their shop window, said Bronwyn to Myra.

Go on! Be a devil! said Myra. Which one would you like?

How they laughed and um-ed and ah-ed! Bronwyn chose an expensive oak casket with elaborate handles. Nothing like going out in style, said Bronwyn.

Myra liked the pure white one. I can see a bunch of deep red roses sitting on top of that white coffin, she said. And within forty-eight hours…

That’ll be the bell, said the teacher. Put your laptops away, and I’ll see you all in creative-writing class tomorrow.

1633. A salutary lesson

Hugo was a teacher of the old school. He believed that students were born with empty heads and it was his job to stuff knowledge into them. SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND LEARN.

Guntar was a teacher of more contemporary times. He believed students were born with heads full of knowledge. It was his job to gently draw knowledge out. Good morning everyone. What would you like to talk about today? Perhaps we could share how we feel about it.

Hugo and Guntar taught at the same school at the same time. They were both successful teachers. One pushed knowledge in, the other sweet-talked knowledge out. Well, the next thing was (would you believe?) Guntar was appointed the headmaster. The more liberal stance became official; in fact, it became compulsory.

We care about people. It is the humane way. It takes into account where the students are at and how they feel. You must coax the knowledge lovingly out of each student.

Hugo didn’t think much of the new directive. He complained at a staff meeting. Guntar answered:

“You call yourself a teacher? It’s conservative, right wing idiots like you who are not open to new ideas. I suggest you SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND LEARN. As free-minded people we prefer to share and do things in a more open liberal way. So use your initiative and do it my way.”

These days Hugo delivers mail on foot from house to house. It’s a job. Guntar, on the other hand, has risen to new heights; he’s now a bigwig in the Department of Education. Teachers beware! You had better SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND LEARN to be open and tolerant.

1578. Heather’s blueberry muffins

Heather Green wasn’t exactly disliked at school. She wasn’t much liked either. In fact, she was a bit of a nobody. If a teacher said to a student “Take Heather Green and go get the bag of basketballs” most students would say “Who’s Heather Green?”

She wasn’t horrible. Nor was she Ms Personality. It’s just that she wasn’t very self-confident. When the class messed around a bit she would sit there and smile but wouldn’t take part. It wasn’t that she was prudish or anything; she was just a bit scared to let herself go.

Anyway, everyone in the class, boys and girls, had one hour a week when they attended a cooking class. It was very exciting because the cooking teacher announced towards the end of the year that they were going to have a party. They could make whatever they wanted (at home) and bring it to school for the celebration. Well! If there was one thing Heather Green knew she could do was make blueberry muffins. She had made them dozens of times at home. They were moist! They were tasty! They were perfect! Heather went home and baked the most delightful batch of blueberry muffins the world had ever seen! She arranged them in a basket with a red and white chequered cloth. In fact she could have been mistaken for Little Red Riding Hood if she had been seen skipping through a forest; and if they were, in fact, the best blueberry muffins in the world that Little Red Riding Hood had in her basket.

Heather quietly left her basket of muffins on the common table. When it came time to eat, Heather’s muffins were horrible. They tasted yuck. It was the only time her blueberry muffins hadn’t turned out right.

Yuck Heather. What a loser. Who’s Heather?

1478. Sex in the classroom

Ms Daphne McHathaway was a wonderful teacher. She had a class of ten-year olds. They loved her. Well, they did until…

Everyone was stunned to hear her say, “Class! Class! What do you know about sex?”

There was a stunned silence. Then brave Johnny Overall ventured to say, “Not much, Miss. Perhaps you can tell us about it.”

“I’m not sure I’d be allowed to,” said Ms McHathaway. “You had better ask your parents first.”

Not every child went home and asked their parents. Some were too scared to broach the subject. Others simply blurted it out at dinner time. “Can Ms McHathaway tell us about sex?”

There was outrage from some quarters. Opposition against Ms McHathaway went from the frying pan into the fire. It grew into a conflagration. In the end, the parents were called to a meeting at the school.

“You should not try to usurp the duty of parents,” expostulated Mr Freddie Turnbull.

“I don’t know what the problem is,” said Ms McHathaway. “All I wondered, with the separation of church and state, whether I was allowed to teach them about sects.”

1433. Terrified silly

Ms Hamilton taught the nine-year olds. She was a bit old-fashioned. For example, she sometimes made the class learn a poem off by heart.

She would make the whole class recite the memorized poem altogether, in class. And then sometimes, she would ask a pupil to recite the poem solo.

On this particular day the nine-year old boys were terrified silly. What if Ms Hamilton asked one of them to recite the poem solo? The last line was “And let a tree sigh with her bosom over me.”

Not a single boy wanted to say the word “bosom” out loud in class.

1397. Class preparation

Robert Maguire was a fairly new and enthusiast high school teacher of Chemistry. In fact, he was about to begin his second year of teaching. During the long summer break he went several times to the school’s chemistry laboratory to prepare his classes for the coming year.

The last time he went, the plumber turned up.

“I’m here to check for dripping faucets,” said the plumber. “Thank goodness you’re here. Mr Gaynor, the Head of the Chemistry Department, gave me a key to the classroom but I was worried how I would get my van through the locked school gate.”

Robert Maguire was about to leave so he asked the plumber to make sure he locked the chemistry laboratory when he left, and to also firmly lock the school’s front gate.

“There have been a lot of burglaries in the area over the summer,” said Robert Maguire.