A trip down memory lane
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!from the song ‘Another brick in the wall’ by Pink Floyd (1979)
David, in his first year of teaching, flicked the light switch on the overhead projector and prepared to launch into his lesson. Riotous laughter erupted from the class.
He had placed the transparency containing the key points of the lesson on the platform of the overhead projector before going for morning tea.
It was the early 1970s and one of the main roles of school inspectors was to assess the competence of trainee teachers. After the break, a man (they always seemed to be men in those days), would be sitting in on David’s lesson to a class of Waitaki Boys’ High School sixth form students. (These days referred to as ‘Year 12’ students.)
He’d sometimes start his English lesson to seniors by getting them to think about a quotation they’d see in large letters projected onto the white screen above the rest of his notes. On this occasion, one of the boys had sneaked in during the break and, copying David’s writing style, closed the space between two words.
“The pen is mightier than the sword” had become “The penis mightier than the sword”. But what had got the postpubescent boys really worked up was the stylish drawing of an erect penis to illustrate the point.
David told me the anecdote a few years after it happened, when I was being blooded as a first year teacher at the school myself. He said that once the laughter had died down, he proceeded to spend the first five minutes giving an anatomy lesson on said male organ.
Not PC, and I doubt whether a teacher would get away with it today, but this was the early seventies! And his no fuss, deadpan response, and decision not to out the perpetrator, went down well with boys and inspector alike. Needless to say, once the standard two year probationary period was over, he became a certified assistant teacher. And a popular, respected and competent one at that!
And one of his all-time favourite songs? Yep, you guessed it, ‘Another brick in the wall’.
Something else that’s a lot more useful round here than a sword is a penknife. Next Monday’s post is titled: The penknife is mightier than the sword.
Thanks for your company. Bye for now.