The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Friday, June 11, 2004

Have you ever sat somewhere very quiet and still and listened? We used to have a poetry exercise with eleven year olds, who still needed to be trained out of crucifying every poem in the futile effort to discipline it with rhyme, where we sat, quiet as dust, and listened for residual sounds.
Today I tried it at a warmy, balmy break time, and during the morning migration back into class, a different story altogether. The sounds of the children charging as one herd to see if a rumoured fight were really going to break out reminded me of wildebeest. Some of the steps and screams sounded predatory, but most were reactive, energised by the herd.
The continual 'knock down ginger' taps on the staffroom door, followed by giggles, shrieks, and disappearing feet reminded me of those tiny red monkeys in their glass house at London Zoo.
The sounds of the more recalcitrant stragglers humming their way up the stairs to be late for class reminded me of over excited young pups, on a group dog-sitter's walk in Hyde Park.
It was relaxing, for once, to think of the sounds as so benign.