The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Another school term begins. Good lord, but these munchkins have energy.

Scene 1: Two students doing some preliminary Shakespeare research within hearing:

Danielle - Shakespeare's really boring stuff that nobody understands.
Ranj - No, this is Romeo and Juliet. I did that at primary. It's great. I played a tree.
Danielle - Oh yeah - it's about a boy from a poor family and a girl from a rich family.
Ranj - The Montargs.
Danielle - Here, see, I've found their names. This one. Merqueesh. Mer--
Ranj - Merqueesh Montarg.
Danielle - No, you idiot, Merqueesh Montague.
Ranj - Oh look, they all die in the end.
Danielle - That's really funny!

Scene 2: Remedial set of thirteen - fourteen year olds, beginning to study Macbeth for their public exams:

Lectrice - So Macbeth was the bravest warrior in Scotland. The second bravest, though, was not his friend. And confusingly, he was called something very similar to Macbeth.
Lenny - Spongebob Squarepants?
Lectrice - No, Lenny, he was called Macduff.
Sam - Macduff the Meek?
Lectrice - No, King Duncan was Duncan the Meek.
Lenny - I'm still going to call him SpongeBob Bob the Bob. Squarepants.
Chesney - The Meek.
Huseyin - Was Macbeth a girl?
Lectrice - Erm, no, that would be his wife. Lady Macbeth.
Charlie - These names are stupid!

Scene 3: The new deputy head visits my last period class of eleven year olds:

School principal - Let's all be polite ot Mister Mack, and show him what we've been doing in English, now.
Carmella - Hey, dude. (blows huge bubblegum bubble till it pops) What up?

Scene 4: Final year (sixteen year old) students have been asked to devise a campaign on an issue they feel is an injustice. After the very public reprimanding of Joel, who has been removed him from the room for too much giggling (no lesson of mine is that much fun, unfortunately), the discussion of what constitutes injustice suddenly becomes localised.

Lectrice - Before you decide if an issue is a definite injustice, a wrong committed that must be redressed through action, you need to decide what action you want your reader to take.
Roy - Was it an injustice when you sent Joel out?
Lectrice - If it was a wrong that needs redress, then yes.
Chris - Yeah it was, miss, you went proper too far then.
Lectrice - Well, if this injustice is what you were to campaign against, could Joel seek legal redress through the courts?
Roy - Like Claims Direct?
Jared - No, you couldn't sue. You'd lose.
Lectrice - Has Joel suffered significant loss through my actions?
Roy - Yeah, he has to work harder 'cause you sent him out.
Lectrice - Correct. Is that something for which the courts would compensate him?
Chris - Nah, 'cause it was his own fault.
Jordan - Is that like when people do things and you sue them 'cause it's 'cause you're black?
Lectrice - Suppose you couldn't succeed in legal redress in this case. What other types of redress could you seek, for this injustice?
Jared - We could get everybody to strike until the council agrees to sack you 'cause you're too strict, miss.
Roy - Yeah!
Jordan - You were proper hard on him miss.
Lectrice - Oh - kay ...
Roy - I'm going to tell Joel to ring Claims Direct.
Jared - We could go up London and march on parliament.
Lectrice - Let's just go to the library and get on with this, shall we?
Jared - Get the Queen sacked while we're at it.
Roy - [shouting] Joel! You should sue her! Joel! Joel!