'A NUcleus!' he said. (Translation: You didn't know THAT?)
I said, 'Remember I spent most of my Chemistry lessons on the other side of the classroom door, looking in.'
'That's not Chemistry,' he said. 'That's PHYsics.'
'Yes, well, as I said, I spent most of my Chemistry lessons on the other side of the classroom door, looking in.'
It wasn't only Chemistry teachers who ejected me from lessons. My French teacher in the 1970s was Mr Rolfe, a man with dark hair and beard, his head surrounded by a frame. The frame was the window of the classroom door, outside which I languished during many lessons, peering in at him from my banishment while he taught others more willing to learn the difference between 'tu' and 'vous'.
I did nothing terrible like chair-hurling or telling teachers they were shit. But I do remember humming. And tapping. And making silly noises. Hence the evictions from the classrooms. I also see my Music teacher, my Chemistry teacher and my Art teacher framed in the same way by a window.
Now I'm a teacher myself, I realise that pupils don't have to do anything 'terrible' to ruin a lesson. Or a teacher's health. Mr Rolfe, I hope you lived to a good age. Or found suitable blood pressure medication.
Humming? you ask. Yes, I too am puzzled by my own behaviour. But when the teacher began to speak, I'd keep up a hum on one note, like the whine of an engine far away.
Tapping - that was with a pencil or a ruler. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. Perhaps teachers would have preferred the chair-hurling.
The silly noises included cat mew-mew noises and the howling of dogs. In Music, as part of the back-row crew, I recall howling my way like a wolf on heat through Speed Bonnie Boat as the poor Music teacher tried to wrestle back control.
|Some habits formed in childhood were hard to break, Fran found, just before her arrest|
The Holy Bible says, What you sow, so you shall reap. Oops. Early in my teaching career, a sly nano-coven of girls took against their 'newbie' teacher, testing me out to see if I, like many newbies, would crumble like a cookie.
The girls began to click their ballpoint pens under the desks while I was talking. Click. Click. Click click. They grinned as they did it, even more so as I started sentences several times ('So, as I was saying, Shakespeare develops the theme of revenge through .... Right, as I said, Shakespeare's theme of .... Let's get on shall we? Shakespeare's theme of .... Er ... girls ....)
I think this is called 'getting your come-uppance'. Perhaps Mr Rolfe died young and was haunting me through the pens of these teenage girls, like a Biro Ghost.
On the other hand, maybe I learned something from Mr Rolfe - not the difference between 'tu' and 'vous', so don't engage me in French conversation - but what to do about hummers, tappers or clickers.
Oh, believe me, I felt like crumbling. In fact, my insides were crumbling even while my outsides maintained a poker face, threatened detentions, wrote their names on the board, and then, when they wouldn't respond, sent them outside to watch me teach about Shakespeare's theme of revenge while peering through the classroom door.
And, after a month or so of them looking daggers at me (Shakespeare again!) and me looking daggers at them, they realised I was half-bearable, and the Battle of the Biros ended.
They must be in careers themselves by now. Please ... let just one of them be in a classroom, tussling with a tapper or clicker.