Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Schools of Thought


When I was a young boy I used to devour books, and often I read them first. Many of the books I read were by and about prisoners of war in the Orient during World War Two. I was particularly impressed by accounts of English officers giving lectures on whatever they happened to know about, such as, for example, ornithology or philatelism or whatever. Anything that would give order to the lives of the men in the prison camps, that would boost their morale, anything that would keep them in touch with the lives they'd lead as British officers while their daily lives were spent in horror camps where murder was the norm, was to the good. Those men were adults, disciplined and independent of mind, stoic and brave.

School isn't always good. I went for lunch at a diner recently and, looking at what I got, I said to the waitress, "This looks like the food Mom use to give us. You remember Mom? He was the fat guy working the kitchen at reform school who smoked cigarettes and had the tattoo of 'mom' on his arm?"

But it was watching To Sir With Love that decided me on my life's ambition. I watched Sidney Poitier in London at a low-life working-class school putting in time till he got a job in his real profession, and how he came to love the work he did as a teacher that made me realize I wanted to be a Black guy. While I waited I became a school teacher instead.

I got fired from my first job because I saw the shy boy in the back of the room squirming and twisting till he finally got up the courage to raise his hand and say, "Sir?"

I put down my notes and looked at him and said, "Stand up, Johnny, and let me know what you'd like."

"Please, sir, I use the lavatory?"

"Alright Johnny, but first come here to the chalkboard and spell (xylophone)."

Hmph. Sacked for having a bit of fun with the lad. Unlike this monster.

Teacher told kids he'd cut off their heads, parent says

CanWest News ServicePublished: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Quebec school board won't comment on media reports that a Gatineau music teacher uttered threats to his Grade 4 students earlier this month.

Unable to control a loud classroom, the teacher reportedly threatened he would "bring a bat to class and break all their teeth and make a necklace out of them," the mother of one of the students told a radio station yesterday. She said the teacher further threatened to poison the students with arsenic and bring a chainsaw to class to "cut off their heads and hang them on the walls."

The mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said that her child was now too scared to return to class.

Teacher told kids he'd cut off their heads, parent says

Oh, wait a minute. Do I or do I not recall just how easily school teachers can get all bent out of shape over the stupidest things? Like the teacher who found us doing something or other and had such a fit her false teeth flew out of her mouth and landed in the snow. We, being good kids, all "jumped in" to help her find them.

School is a lot of things, shifting and strange and becoming from moment to moment. It's never perfect. It's good for the most part, and even when it's not so good it should still be a learning experience. what it shouldn't be is a place to learn how to be a wimp who fears a funny guy teaching. If we'd had that guy teaching us we'd all be buskers in Time's Square today. What a loss to the world it is that we didn't have such a guy. Well, fa la la la la, as we say in French.

1 comment:

truepeers said...

They made me spell ukelele! And wouldn't let me piss until I also got the "May I/Can I go to the washroom" thing right. I see your kid was already too terrified to even role the dice on that one.