Eons before, God had placed a man – a teacher – into this follicle. The Lord gave him paper, a quill and ink, and bade him write. It was a penance, for in life the teacher had thrown a board rubber at a child; he had thrown a book to another child and it had glanced off the head of another; he’d kept a rainbow-hued, curly wig on his desk for unruly children to wear in hot shame. In short, he had been in life an evil teacher.
“Why not send him to Hell?” I hear you ask. Well, it is a little known secret that all teachers go to Heaven by simple virtue of being a teacher. Final salary pension or not, the virtuous sacrifice of teacherdom grants us all eternal life. Albeit sometimes in one of God’s disused follicles.
Let’s call our follicle-bound teacher Michael. He sat in silence before the paper, quill and ink. He brushed his sides in thought, then asked “Lord, what is it that you wish I should write?”
The Lord’s words reverberated throughout the vast follicle: “In life, you were an evil teacher. And yet…” The great voice echoed around the tundra-like floor of the follicle. “And yet I saw the seed of something, and I wish you to write this seed into the pages I have granted you. I ask you to write, but give you one proviso: that what you write must only be the truth.”
Eager to do penance, Michael grasped the quill and thrust it greedily into the pot of ink. He set about writing the truth. He wrote the Evil #teacher5aday: five commandments of dark daily practice to sully your vocation and sicken your soul, and yet paradoxically preserve the great shared spirit of education.
And here, translated at great personal cost from the original Adamic language of Paradise, are the five Evil prescriptions for a better, albeit diabolical, professional life:
1) Steal from your students
Do sidle past Michelle’s desk and do take her scented Hello Kitty eraser and do give it unto Connor and do say loudly, “Connor, I do like the raspberry scent of your Hello Kitty eraser. From where did you procure it?”
2) Lie to your students
Do tell your students that a comma is a cue to scream. Then do teach commas for listing and inwardly roar with laughter as your students recreate a Bosch painting before your very streaming eyes.
3) Be sarcastic to your students
Do say,”No, I don’t want you to write in full sentences, Callum. I want you to write in Morse Code. Better still the Highway Code. Or shall we write in Da Vinci Code?”
And do say, “That toilet sees more of you than we do. We shall have to set up a satellite link so we can Skype you in there: flipped learning from the little men’s room.”
4) Tell your students that you hate them
Do tear out your hair and shreik into the ceiling panels. Exasperate at the umpteenth evident ignorance of your expressed instruction to write in paragraphs. Pull down your jowls and scream, Munch-like, into the faces of your nonplussed charges.
5) Sacrifice a hamster on the altar of excellence
Do tell your children that if they don’t get their reading diary signed, if they don’t use capital letters and full stops, and if they don’t stop swinging in their seat or dragging drying mucus across their desk, the class pet will “get it”. Mime holding a Magnum to the head of your hamster, your terrapin, your stick insect and make the chick-kick sound of locking and loading.
Granted, Michael’s is a short book. But God read it and saw that it was good and true. Michael’s penance was done, and God did grant him a small living room in the follicle with a subscription to Netflix and Spotify. Michael spent the rest of eternity perfecting his impression of the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey, listening to Radiohead and wondering how, if he sang happier songs, Thom Yorke would morph into Jimmy Sommerville.
Michael’s Evil Book ended thusly:
“Do do these five daily. And do do them with love. For it is love that will make them good.”
He set down his quill and looked up to where he imagined the vast rim of the follicle to be. And he winked at God.
And God ignored him: he was busy sorting out an appropriate penance for a Minister of Education in another disused follicle (one with William Morris wallpaper). As we now know, all those who play in the waters of schooling are heaven-bound. Even the most lowly.