The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Friday, February 04, 2005

A post on Hedgetoad reminds me of the nefarious practise of teacher confiscation of irritation-provoking goods. I'm fairly lax about confiscating things - I'd rather not have to pay for a replacement once I lose whatever it is the students shouldn't have brought in to wave around before the inevitable thieves in the first place.

Yet I've found that some confiscated contraband promises more than most in encouraging children to either cease / desist behaviour x, or to actually turn up at the appointed time to apologise - one non-regulation coloured trainer, a single card from a deck of fifty-two, the local second team's practise football, a winter coat, the earpieces from an mp3 player, the battery or sim card from a mobile phone, the funkiest street headband (ie sunshades) in the class, or at the very least, the student's planner, held in lieu of good behaviour ... the list of evil-doing on my part stretches till doomsday.

Like Hedgetoad, however, I still haven't scored an ipod as yet. These annoying little plastic pop culture desirables began to appear in real numbers after christmas 2004, and the very visibility of expensive earpieces makes the wrongdoing of listening to mp3s during class all the more obvious, and therefore, all the more important to publicly foil.

I had a plan.

I've started explaining to students that as I'm such an awful teacher, I don't get paid very much. I can't afford an ipod, not even if I saved up for a year. I could try to get more money from the boss by teaching better, but that won't happen till my 'best class' (wink at students conspiratorially) take their exams, because then I'm sure to get promoted.
That will be ages and ages away. And I really really want an ipod. Deep, theatrical sigh.

And so, when I see a student's smuggled ipod winking at me from beneath a collar, my mean shrivelled little heart beats a little faster, my mean, covetous, claw-like fingers twitch a little greedily, and a mean craven voice inside of me whispers that if I confiscate the thing, I could have an ipod for just one day.

Just ten hours, an ipod of my very own.

It always works. Apparently, teenagers who cannot coutenance co-operation with an openly rule-based culture can utterly relate tounfairly applied rules, as long as they're based upon the politics of envy.

Perhaps we *did* spend too long studying Macbeth...

Unfortunately I still haven't had a chance to play with an ipod.
I can wait. I do wait. Claw-like fingers twitching.