Sunday, January 30, 2005


or Pavlov’s Blog

Maybe it’s the hidebound conservative in me but I do sometimes pine for the good old days of language teaching. Grammar translation, chalk boards and the merest squeak out of the little scroats would result in the violent insertion of the board duster into their juvenile oesophagi. The fact that these days exist solely in the fevered imaginations of the only occasionally sane is neither here nor there.

I would add a few refinements of my own devising, concessions to our cruel and pitiless modern age. Random acts of even coarser brutality to keep the buggers on their toes.

“And what does your father do, János?”

“My farder he work in a…” BLAM!! Both barrels. Point blank.

“Okay, there will now be a short test. Anyone failing to score at least 75% can stay behind after class and help scrape János off the wall.”

Scoop him into the ‘Flunk Bucket’ and ship him off to his next of kin.

That should sort the little sods out.

Have you ever seen film of teacher training or group therapy sessions? Those in which a small ball or bean bag is tossed around from person to person indicating to the irretrievably feeble minded that it is their turn to speak? Well, a slow burning fuse and a small explosive charge should certainly lively that one up a bit. I would aim for a detonation somewhere between that required to merely startle and that which would be necessary to reduce everything within a one metre radius into its constituent molecules.

You could wire all their chairs up to a stack of car batteries. A set of red buttons on the teacher’s desk and one of those evil villain type levers for adjusting the intensity. Irregular verbs? Sorted. I am reminded of John Craven.

“Don’t think you know.”


A system of demerits might be in order. At the end of the course, certificates would be graded by the simple expedient of counting body parts still attached. Prosthetics will not be allowed into the examination room under any circumstances.

I may even consider a complementary merit system. One gold star and you can be in charge of the bolt cutters for a day.

I could never, ever work in a state school. And no, it isn’t because I have a penchant for nubile teenagers whose rowdy young buttocks are forever punching the seams of their jeans and would, therefore, have to spend most of every schoolday beating down a penile protrusion with an old copy of Newsweek, although I will admit the prospect of such debauchery is somewhat appealing. It is more that I fear I would not last longer than it took the parent teacher association to complain that their progeny were arriving home in body bags. Although why on Earth they should cavil at my eliminating the scum at the bottom of the gene pool would be quite beyond my capacity to understand.

Ah, well. Ardbeg it is then. Stress relief in a glass.

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