How not to teach a Shakespeare lesson to teenagers if you want them to learn about iambic pentameter

This post - a real-life experience of mine when teaching Shakespeare - has been written especially to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday as part of the project.  Happy birthday, Wilko.

How not to teach a Shakespeare lesson to teenagers if you want them to learn about iambic pentameter

Preventative (Measure for) Measures ...

1. Do not eat blackberry and apple crumble for lunch before teaching a lesson on iambic pentameter.

2. If you will insist on eating blackberry and apple crumble for lunch before teaching a lesson on iambic pentameter, look in a mirror before going into the classroom.

3. If you have eaten blackberry and apple crumble without looking at a mirror before entering the classroom to teach iambic pentameter, get ready for humiliation.

How things will go if you haven't taken preventative (Measure for) Measures ....

1. Teach your lesson on iambic pentameter.

2.  Wonder, at regular intervals during the lesson, why the teenagers are finding your explanations of metrical feet and rhyming couplets so amusing.

3. Keep telling them off for lack of attention, then wonder why they are finding your admonitions equally as amusing as your explanations of metrical feet and rhyming couplets.

4. Get to the end of the lesson, more grateful than you have ever been that a bell (the bell that summons you to heaven or to ... the staff room) has rung.

5. Feel pleased when a couple of girls stay behind and ask to talk to you about the lesson.  Think how nice it is that they want to continue the discussion on iambic pentameter and suddenly feel much better about things.

6. Feel much less better when they tell you that the reason everyone was laughing is because you have a piece of blackberry and apple crumble the size of Australasia stuck to your white shirt, just below the collar.

Miss hoped that the blackberry and apple crumble had been the only reason they couldn't focus on the lesson but, she had to be honest, her electrolysis hadn't been going well recently either


  1. Brilliant! I used to help at a local primary school when my children were pupils there. I would spend an afternoon or two every week, listening to the children read. They would put me in a small room with a large window, and in the summer with the sun coming into the room, it wasn't unusual for me to fall asleep! Happy days.......

  2. Bahaha! We all have these stories, don't we? Blackberry crumble, spiders, popping Ninja heads (but that's for another post).

  3. Ah - the slings and arrows of outrageous blackberry and apple crumble... Shakespeare knew it well (Horatio).

  4. came to say thanks for following my blog.
    I would love to reciprocate but the followers bit on everyones blog has disappeared which is something to do with security updates when having IE as a browser.
    I'm trying to figure it out but with a brain the size of a pea its difficult. (This is a pretty good excuse huh?)

    You think blackberry crumble is bad?
    Doing an exceptionally posh antique fair (with an abundance of people coming over to chat about anything and EVERYTHING) because you've used bright blue eyeliner instead of your normal eyebrow THAT takes some getting over!

  5. Awww - I'm sure they'll remember you for all the right reasons, as well.

    Ted and bunny - I'm heading over to your blog now. Blue pencil on your eyebrows sounds authentically eccentric.

  6. Egg and cress sarnie remnants (green) in the teeth are a killer too...

  7. Education is wasted on teenagers ( I speak from personal experience ) . They should , on the whole just be ignored till they come of age .
    Anyway , I expect you looked a lot less silly than me when , a few weeks ago , I tipped a cup of coffee over my lap . The incontinent look isn't seen as very professional in pre-school circles .

  8. Oh no, poor you. Shame nobody pointed that out to your earlier!!! Oh and that is so the kind of thing that would happen to me!

  9. Surely you could have looked nonplussed and said, 'Oh, that - it's a living artwork brooch by Damien Hirst' - and given them all detention for lack of concentration....

  10. Towers, palaces, temples, the Globe theater, the Earth—all will crumble and dissolve...

  11. At least they'll remember the class.

  12. Hahaha....really funny.These are the thing which we tend to forget easily. After eating any thing we should clean the mouth.

  13. I used to make sure I had a really garlicky lunch whenever I had this particularly horrid Year 10 class one year. Sure fire way to get them to keep their distance.

  14. Tsk - everyone knows teens have 'Base and crumble minds'!
    You should have set them an essay question: 'Why does my food thus custard to my heart?'

  15. Kids are so cruel, as you know to your cost, but let's face it, we would have had a giggle when we were their age too!
    Is it better to have loved your crumble and lost face or never to have loved the crumble at all?

  16. Shame I didn't have your tips when I had to teach this! I had to keep banging the desk and going: 'See? Rhythm! It's all about the rhythm!'

  17. What the blazes is an Iambic Perambulation when it's at home?

    You daft git, please don't tell me that you really did that with crumble stuck to your shirt?!!

  18. So did the continent of crumble bop in time with the rhythm?

    At least it wasn't a whole lettuce stuck between your teeth. They'd have gagged at that, ungrateful beasts.

  19. Yum! Crumble. Worth the humiliation!

    Anna :o]


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