"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lauren, the immovable force.

I've had that lot again this week.

I groan inwardly as I read my timetable.

They pour in like an overflowing drain, their hormones and mouths on overdrive.

When I teach Science and Religion I am used to individuals expressing doubt or cynicism about the traditional Genesis account. This lot, counterculturally, have a problem with the science. No matter how many times I say The Big Bang Theory is currently the most widely held explanation for the creation of the universe and if you don't accept it, it is up to you to convince the examiner that you have a credible alternative. Good luck with that they still argue.

"But the scientists could of (sic) made it up."

Why. WHY?

"For the money." (They know the price of everything but the value of nothing.)

Are you serious?

They are.

You must be careful when you answer the questions that are evaluative.

"What does that mean?"

The ones that ask for your opinion.


Because you can be marked down for going off on a rant and spouting rubbish.

"But if it's our opinion...."

No. It doesn't work like that. Your opinion has to a common-sense opinion and based on factual accuracy. You can't ague black's white and expect the examiner to throw marks at you at GCSE because it won't happen. You could end up with no marks for that section.

"But its our opinion."

And you still won't get any marks.

"But if it's my opinion it can't be wrong."

Yes it can.

"But it's my opinion."

I think we've established that and if it's not based on common-sense or factual accuracy its a wrong opinion.

"But it's my opinion. I don't believe in either of them."

I know I'm going to regret this but, somehow I can't let the moment pass.

What do you think caused the start of the universe then?

"Why should I know? I'm 14. I wasn't there."

I see my life begin to pass before my eyes. Is talking to Lauren a bit like drowning? You know, you are submerged by a more powerful, uncompromising force.

"The exam's rubbish then."

I decide to move on.

"Can I ask you a question? Sir, can I ask you a question? Why can't I ask you a question? I only want to ask a question. Sir, I want to ask a question? Can I ask a question? I only want to ask a question. Why can't I ask a question?"

Not just now Lauren.

"But you aren't doing anything just now. Can't I ask a question? I only want to ask a question. Why can't I ask a question?"

I'm waiting for quiet.

"That's what I mean. You aren't doing anything right now. I only want to ask a question. Why can't I ask a question? I only want to ask a question. Can I ask a question sir? ...

I'm waiting for you to be quiet.

"But I only want to ask a question. Why can't I ask a question? Can I ask a question? ............."


"I don't think I'm being taught to my potential when I can't even ask a question. Why can't I ask a question? I only want to ask you a question. Can I ask a question? I never get to share my opinion."

Lauren. That's all you ever do.

Later that day I have a Year 11 class I inherited from a much loved colleague who retired recently. How she kept her hands off them I'll never know.

At the recent parents' Evening a number of parents complained that the behaviour of a significant number of the boys in this group is stopping others from learning. It's a view I agree with.

"Well that's not very mature!"

What isn't Brad? The bad behaviour or the parents' complaints?

"The parents complaining."

Are you winding me up?

"No. They should mind their own business. What's it got to do with them?"

Did I die without noticing and go to Hell?


  1. I don´t know how you do it! Keep your hands away from their throats...for this gift alone you ought be made Bishop of wherever it is that you would like to be! With great admiration from afar,
    Central America

  2. How long until you can retire, Sir?

  3. Three years max. Less if I can get away with it and the sums work.

  4. Have you ever thought of giving a "question allowance" to each student for the lesson? Say three questions allowed, and when they've used those up they are not allowed any more. If the class agreed to such a system they might round on L and tell her to stfu.