Tag Archives: class

2437.  A paradigm of pedagogy

(Pre-note: I’m not overly happy with this story because it’s too political, but I’m old and tired and will post it so as to get on with writing more murderous ones).

Evangeline was a highly qualified school teacher. She (pronoun of choice) was, to say the least, a state-of-the-art teacher. What she didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. How she taught was the paradigm of pedagogy.

Persons! Persons! she would say. We are coming into Summer Time and there’s a mnemonic to help us remember. Spring back; Fall forward. It will tell us how to reset your phones. Say it together: Spring back; Fall forward. Or is it the other way around? Who cares? The phone company will change it for you automatically without your needing to do a thing.

Now for the calendar. Thirty days has September, August, March, and December. It’s something like that but facts don’t really matter so long as you know when your birthday is.

Now I will give you a little lesson in memorizing things. Always rhyme a word in your head. You will remember the rhyme and won’t forget the thing you have to remember. For homework I want you to make a list of every naughty word you can think of. Tomorrow we will make a combined list and find words that rhyme with them. That way you will remember them. There is to be no help from parents, is that clear?

Now, finally, Cornelius found a prophylactic on the patio. Yes Warwick? What is it?

Warwick: What’s a patio?

Evangeline: Never mind about such things, Warwick. I want you to go out into the corridor and tell the white kids they can come in now. But first, would everyone move over to the other side of the room.

2423.  A memorable performance

Bronwyn hired a bubble machine for her class’s stage performance. It was “Grandparents’ Day” at school. The children were to stage a little play to entertain the grandparents. When the performance was over they would have a cup of coffee made of course by the class.

One of the exciting things Bronwyn had done with the class was to make stilts. During the play all the children had mastered stilt walking and would do a little dance. It was quite safe as the stilts weren’t very high.

The curtains opened! The play began! The bubble machine began to shower the stage with glorious bubbles. There wasn’t a grandparent who didn’t ooh and aah. It was time for the stilt dancers to enter.

Oh dear! The soapy bubbles had made the floor very slippery. Three stilt walkers slipped and broke legs. Grandpa Ned went up on stage to rescue them. He slipped and did his hip in. Bronwyn rushed on stage to turn the bubble machine off. She slipped and broke her wrist.

All in all it was a very memorable performance. Coffee was cancelled.

2218. The chemist

Have you heard of the communist tyrant responsible for millions of deaths?  He was a chemist and at some stage, after lurking anonymously in the background of power, was able to poison three quarters of the population. No one knew who he was but it was believed that the person was still alive and perhaps living in luxury.

Which brings me to a simpler scene: an ordinary chemistry class at school. Young Harry has asked his chemistry teacher a simple question. Ms Braxton was a tyrannical chemistry teacher. She was to be feared. Not one of her pupils learnt Chemistry out of love; they learnt it out of fear. Ms Braxton had been teaching Chemistry for so long that several generations had passed through the school despising Chemistry. Rumour had it that she knew who the tyrannical communist chemist was; perhaps even she had taught the murderous persecutor.

Young Harry’s question was simply this: Why does bread go brown when it is toasted? Ms Braxton had explained that the starch under heat reflected light to the right (“dextra” was the Latin word for “right” so the brown bit was called dextrin). That made the toast look brown. It’s why the crust on a loaf of bread is brown.

Ms Braxton certainly knew her stuff. She was very learned. She lived alone in a very big house and drove a very expensive car. The question young Harry (and most of the impressionable teenagers in the class) really wanted to ask was “How come you’re so rich?” In fact, he did ask her. She got very angry and told him to mind his own business. Her reaction was certainly proof of something don’t you think?

1991. Alien Class

Okay Class, now settle down. Good morning.

This is the third introductory class to life on Planet Earth. To think that it’s only five months before you begin your “visitation” to Earth, so we have lots and lots of work to do.

Today’s topic could be construed as being a little sensitive; at least the humans on Earth might regard it as being sensitive. It’s about a function they have or do that we simply don’t have. Nature has evolved us in a complexly different direction. We expel waste in a hygienic, constant, and unnoticeable way through what the Earthings would call our “skin”. The Earthlings however expel waste through a completely different process called…

Excuse me, Hottopius. Just settle down. I’m not telling you this for your entertainment…

Yes, Gloteressa? You have a question? You have been reading about it? You know all about it already? What is it you’ve read about?…

No! No! Gloteressa! That’s not how it happens; not how it happens at all! Goodness knows where you dug that up from. That’s not how they expel waste on Earth. Not in the slightest. The person who wrote that is living in La-la land.

Usually humans will leave, and sometimes rush from, the room away from others and go into a little cubicle reserved specifically for this function. It’s extremely private, which is why we know so little about it. Constipolorus, our great scientist, hid a camera in a cubicle and recorded what exactly went on. So we now know a thing or two. The video of activity I’m afraid I can’t show you because it is classified material, but I can perhaps describe it for you in detail…

Yes, Buckanorsis? You what? You’ve seen the videos? You saw the videos on Disgracebook? What did you think?…

Disgusting? You thought it disgusting? Well I’m not surprised. And if in five months you are to make a “visitation” to Planet Earth then you had better get used to what humans do in that little cubicle. Everyone there does it. It’s part of what happens on their planet.

You have a question, Blubberteria? Yes! Yes! You’re right. I was about to say by what names the expulsion of waste materials by humans goes under. They have many different words for it – such is the sacredness (or should I perhaps say secretness?) of the process. The most common expression I believe is “heave your guts out”. Some books refer to it as “psychedelic chunder”. Others simply say “throw up”.

Here’s what I want you to do before next class: take your Roget’s and dictionaries and make a list of all the words and phrases that Earthlings use to describe this fascinating private cubicle activity.

Class dismissed.

1976. First class

It was the first class that Owen had ever taught as a qualified teacher. He had spent a few years getting a university degree and passing the required training at Teachers’ College. He had no trouble finding employment. He would teach English to High School students.

Discipline was the catch cry. Discipline! Let the students get away with murder and they’ll be murdering the teacher for the rest of the teacher’s career. Be stern – at least for the first week or two. Owen was well prepared. He was nervous, but having thoroughly prepared lessons lessens the unpredictability of the classroom. He would walk into the classroom and announce work! Work! Work! Work! Let the students know from the beginning that he meant business.

Owen strode into the room carry a class set of “King Lear”. After introducing himself, he would hand each student a copy of “King Lear” and say “Turn to page 24”.

The teacher’s desk was on a small rostrum. Owen tripped on the rostrum step, fell, and threw the pile of twenty-two books into the air. The students roared with laughter. Owen himself laughed! After all his preparation and that happened!

The students saw him laugh. Yes! He was a jolly good fellow. He enjoyed his first class. He never had any problem ever with class discipline. Teachers who can laugh rarely do.

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.