Tag Archives: teacher

2252. Study the Atlas

The teacher, Mrs Freud, didn’t think much of the new boy in her class. His name was Freddie. He was tall, skinny, and would spend most of his free time looking at an atlas. He didn’t go outside to play as did all the other boys in the class.

Mrs Freud encouraged Freddie to go outside and get some exercise but he didn’t. He just looked at the atlas. And then Mrs Freud insisted, so he left the atlas open on the Uzbekistan page and went grudgingly outside.

Years later Freddie was older and had one question left to answer in a television quiz show in order to win twenty million dollars.

“What is the capital of Turkmenistan?”

“Tashkent,” said Freddie.

“No,” said the compere, “the answer is Ashgabat.”

“That is the capital of Uzbekistan, not Turkmenistan,” said Freddie.

Freddie was the one with the wires crossed. If he hadn’t been sent outside to play by Mrs Freud he would have won the twenty million. However, he’s not going to make a fuss about it because he’s married to Mrs Freud’s daughter and his six kids adore their grandmother.

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?

2165. Teacher’s admonition

Madam, your little boy is a total prick. He pulls the plaits of little girls and thinks it funny. He answers me back. He pokes out his tongue. All in all he’s a spoilt brat. If they hadn’t banned it I’d give him a good whipping just to knock him into shape.

Just the other day I saw him cheat by copying another little boy’s arithmetic homework. He should have done the work at home. That’s why it’s called “Homework”. Mind you, knowing your background I’d imagine there wouldn’t be much of a home life. I can see why you can’t get anyone to help him as he’s such an ill-disciplined rude boy.

Some people are helpless parents – that’s if you are the parent – he doesn’t look much like you – and as far as helpless parents go you’ve got as much parenting skills as a headless aardvark. Tidy up your act, Madam. Instil some discipline into the little shit.

I’d kick him out of my class if he wasn’t the heir to the throne.

2070. The Little Egret

You might think it’s funny but it’s not. The dog really did tear up Anita’s homework. She had spent an entire two months on her project. She had maps and drawings and pages and pages of writing. I’m sure Anita knew more about Egretta garzetta immaculate than most ornithologists.

This Little Egret doesn’t nest here, but it comes for the winter months – apparently. Anita has never seen one, and nor have I. Just a few arrive for several months and then fly away again. I promised Anita we’d go to see them next season when the egrets arrive. We’re both looking forward to it actually; more so now that the dog has torn her precious project up. The silly thing is that the egrets wade in a lagoon not far away from here. It’s walking distance – that is, by a couple of hours. We tried once before to see them but when we got there they weren’t there!

Anita emailed the teacher about the dog and asked for a time extension to do it all again, and the teacher replied with a curt: Good one. Next time try and think up something original. You’re getting an F.

This is grossly unfair. It’s bad enough not being able to attend classes with this wretched pandemic; but not being able to properly converse with the teacher face to face makes things much more difficult. I had a conversation with the teacher online about all this and she called me a liar. So I called her a few things as well. I was cut off and that was that.

Of course we can’t go visit the egrets this year because we’re all stuck at home. It’s ridiculous. Will we ever see a Little Egret? What’s this? Goodness! What’s the dog ripping up now? Don’t tell me he’s got another one of the chickens. Dear me, there seems to be white feathers everywhere.

2044. Things are rarely what they seem

Devin didn’t think much of Travis; in fact he hated him. Devin knew he had been the topic of a school board meeting, and Travis (who was the school principal) was the one who had brought the topic up: Devin was teaching stuff in science that Travis didn’t like. Devin’s classroom had to be purged of Devin.

It was near the end of the school year. It was decided that Devin’s contract would not be renewed. Travis would inform Devin after the end of year teachers’ “party”. But somehow Devin had found out in advance.

Devin got a syringe, filled a little bottle with poison, and creeping into Travis vegetable garden at night, managed to inject all the tomatoes with the concoction. Whipty-do! All that Devin need do now was to sit around and wait for Travis and his family to kick the bucket.

Nothing happened. No one died. No one even got sick. The end of year teachers’ party was held. Devin was informed by Travis that his services were no longer required in the next academic year. Devin wasn’t sure if his seething hatred was because of the dismissal or because of the ineffective poison. He was livid. Next time he wouldn’t get it wrong. Travis was a goner.

A day later, Devin got a gun. He loaded it. He got in his car and headed for Travis’ house. He drove fast. He drove impetuously. He drove dangerously. He had an accident and was killed.

The funeral, held in the school’s gymnasium, was huge. Travis spoke of the tragic loss to the school of a good and talented teacher of science; in fact, they were naming the new science block after him.

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.

1817. A close shave

It was a total give-away when Garth, while setting the table for dinner, nonchalantly said, “It depends on the brand, Ida.”

Garth’s statement was in response to his wife’s question of “Do you want some tomato sauce with dinner?” The problem was, Garth’s wife’s name was Sylvia, not Ida. Sylvia, who was suspicious at the best of times, cottoned on to it immediately. The Ida referred to would inevitably be Ida Brocklehurst who was a teacher’s assistant at the school where Garth taught Biology. Clearly they were having an affair. Why else would he so matter-a-factly trot out the name of Ida if they weren’t carrying on a rampant and sweaty undercover plot of fornication?

“Why did you call me Ida?” asked Sylvia in a voice that both quaked with fear and yet had all the vehemence of someone who already intended to sue for divorce.

“I have no idea,” said Garth. “It just came out.”

Garth came up with an immediate plan. “I think we should both have our ears tested,” he said. “They provide a free hearing test at the pharmacy.”

“Why do we need a hearing test?” demanded Sylvia.

“Because I didn’t call you Ida. I said It depends on the brand, my dear. ”

“Oh, how silly of me,” said Sylvia now slightly embarrassed and in recovery mode.

Garth was relieved. He couldn’t wait to tell Ida in the morning. And somehow he had to stop Sylvia from getting her hearing tested.

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.

1795. Future classroom dialogue – c. 2162 CE

Student: Excuse me Miss. Do we really have to study this?

Ms. Honeybun: Yes, Zenith. It’s written by a great writer. It will stretch your imagination. It will open your eyes to possibilities.

Student: But we have already studied his novel and poems, and now we’re expected to study his short stories. Why can’t we study someone interesting, like Shakespeare or Emily Bronte or Thorkel X. Kaftan. (Note: Thorkel X. Kaftan didn’t appear on the literary scene until around 2098 CE).

Ms. Honeybun: Shakespeare is so very yesterday and greatly overrated. In my opinion we are studying the greatest writer since Euripides.

Student: But Euripides wrote plays. This stupid idiot didn’t write plays.

Ms. Honeybun: He’s not a stupid idiot, Zenith. And oh yes, he did write plays. His plays are the next thing on the syllabus we will be studying.

Student: I hate having things shoved down my throat.

Ms. Honeybun: When you are older you will thank me for having so forcibly introduced you to this lustrous author. Euripides and Bruce Goodman are undoubtedly the two greatest writers in the history of the world.

Second Student: Speaking on behalf of the rest of the class, we simply adore what you are teaching us, Miss Honeybun.

Ms. Honeybun: Thank you, Echinacea. I’m glad most of the class recognize greatness when they see it. Now could you please all turn to Story 1795: Future classroom dialogue.

Footnote: See the links at the top of the blog page!