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Think a Teacher's Job Is Easy?

Monologue homage to Joyce Grenfell: Nursery? Teens? Little difference!

Alright, everyone, settle down! Eyes front. Now. Jade? Now. Phone away.

Ben, that chair has four legs: use them all before you fall off again. You were unconscious for a worryingly long time last lesson, remember? No, I know you don't remember. You were unconscious, yes. I was being rhetorical, Ben. Just sit properly, will you?

I know, Mrs Williams. I wish he'd learn. He'll do some real damage one day.

Right, then. I’ve marked your stories and the good news is that lots of you created vivid descriptions and believable characters. I saw some really original plots, too. Apart from the one that I'm pretty sure was the script of Star Wars, word for word. Calling the characters Duke Crywater and Garth Spader doesn't make it an original work, Dylan. No, it doesn't. Please don't argue.

Here you are, then. Have a careful read of the comments and the marginalia as well as the grade, all of you. I didn't spend eight hours marking them for you to just give it a cursory glance…

Ben. Ben … Sit down. You don't need to wander. It doesn't matter what grade Ryan got. Not to you, anyway. It's not a competition. Sit down. In your own chair. Using all four legs. Now read the comments on your work. No, you haven't. I wrote an essay on yours and you've spent three seconds looking at it.

Mrs Williams, would you mind sitting by Ben for a minute and pointing it out to him? Thank you.

Jade…don't make me tell you again. The mirror too, please. Yes, you look gorgeous. You don't need to keep checking every two minutes.

O-kay…so you've all had a chance to read about why you got the grade that you did. I hope you can all see what you did well. Like I said, some very creative descriptions, believable characters, and a lot of you put a good deal of thought into the plot—all with an effective build up to the climax and lots with twists at the end. A fair bit of originality, too. Dylan, I–I'm not discussing it any more. See me lunchtime if you're not happy.

That's the good news. I like to give you the good news first.

Now here is the bad news, and the reason why there were no whoops of triumph when you saw your grades. The bad news is that not one of your stories made one iota of sense. The reason? Full stops. Or, more precisely, lack thereof.

Let’s look at this example…Ben…Ben…it’s this way. What do you mean, ‘not again’?

I’m aware we’ve looked at what full stops are for before. Last week, yes, before I set you the homework. And last term. And the term before that. I know. I was there. Every. Single. Painful. Minute.

What's that, Dylan? Why do you think we are doing them again? You’re still not using them. No, not just you. Everyone. I’m not picking on you, Dylan, I promise. I’ve got better things to do with my time.

So. Look at the example. On the board. The board, Ben…Jade…Thank you.

Have a look at the board, everyone, and see if you can work out what’s wrong with it. It doesn’t matter, Dylan. Whose work it’s from is irrelevant. Turn around, look at the board and think. Hands up if you’ve worked it out…

Jade, yes, what do you think is wrong with it?...You’ve just had break. You should have gone then. And you don’t mean ‘Can I,’ you mean, ‘May I.’ If you can’t, then you should see a doctor. What do you think is wrong with what’s on the board, then?

Anyone? Anyone at all?

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