At the chalkface: The lesson wrecker...

Written by: Ian Whitwham | Published:
Former teacher Ian Whitwham

Ah, but something is waiting out there, something lurks in the inner city air. This is their season. They flourish about now. Before them, all pedagogy is as nought, all teachers impotent. What can it be?

You’re on a roll, your lessons are purring along, pupils on message and task, aims and objectives well met, outcomes conspicuously measurable. All boxes ticked. This Mr Grim routine – never smile ‘til at least Easter – is paying off. Even your low stream 8th year has been quelled. Even Dave and Decibelle Mania are dormant.

Ah, but something is waiting out there, something lurks in the inner city air.

This is their season. They flourish about now. Before them, all pedagogy is as nought, all teachers impotent. What can it be? Ofsted on an early recce? A fire drill? Dave Mania, when the Ritalin wears off? Bats?

Nope. Much worse.

You batten down the hatches and plough on with Stig of the Dump. And tremble. They invade singly or in squadrons on suicide missions, seeking sugar – or the blood of infants.

You check the windows again. They always get in, these lesson-wreckers.

Yes, the wasp. Vespula Vulgaris, as we entymologists call it. The tiny wasp. Just one is all it takes. A buzzing piece of bedlam, a catalyst of chaos, a prince of Pandemonium, a promoter of utter panic and, above all, a trigger for pupils to fake a riot. Look out! Here it comes!

The tiny interloper invades and hovers and zooms and zig and zags. Your pupils go berserk. You threaten, cajole, and beg. You say things like “it’s harmless!” or “I will not tolerate this pathetic behaviour”. Er, yes you will.

They say things like “Aargh! Aargh! I’m dying, sir. I got them allergies”. “It’s ‘elf and safety sir!”

Meanwhile Dave Mania goes ape, waves Stig in all directions and roars.

“Kill the beast,” Decibelle shrieks at volume 97, and the sensitive Cordelia goes into a coma. The children relish the invasion with cartoon mayhem. Your lesson is comprehensively ruined. Still, with luck, wasps will soon be gone.

Ah, but now there’s Something Else out there. Maybe even worse. Four schools in east London have been closed for three weeks. The council’s “environmental team” arrived on the scene. What is it this time spreading such terror? More Bats? Guerrillas? Tarantulas? Woolly Mammoths? A killer shark in the Thames?

Nope. A tiny spider. The Steatoda Nobilis, the noble false widow. What a fabulous name! No doubt children will be much distressed and feast on rumours of these harmless creepy crawlies and suggest at least the year off.

“The safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff is our number one priority,” drones a credulous head.

“Not half,” grins Dave Mania. “It’s ‘elf an safety!”

  • Ian Whitwham is a former inner city London teacher.


Comments
Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 
Claim Free Subscription