Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Light my piano, baby

It's Wednesday morning and Sasha is in full flow. The bell for playtime tolled long ago, but not for us, apparently.

We've had the prayer, the song, the presentation of birthday certificates and now it's time for what's laughingly known as 'the story'. Indeed, it's even promoted to the children as a desirable event, something worth several extra decibels of fake enthusiasm as the staff try to hype the unhypeable.

"Behave well," they say, "And Mrs Fear might tell you a story. If you're good."

(I read somewhere that Beyonce has an alternative name for herself - Sasha Fear - that she uses on stage to give her extra courage. It seems appropriate).

We all pray for them to be bad. Or at least, badder. They never are. Until about now, 15 minutes in, when Sasha, treating the morning as usual like an ad hoc therapy session, wanders through pretty much any topic that pops into her head. A programme she saw on TV last night; her time as an English teacher in countries with a gross national product too small to raise the tanks, armed forces and missiles necessary to resist her presence; interesting things she has seen, said and done (limitless, sadly - though by subjective definition only).

Then she sees a few children, shuffling closer to the glass window to stare at the empty climbing frames and grass with a totally understandable longing.

"It is simply not fair to expect 95 children to sit quietly and patiently during assembly when 5 other children apparently can't be bothered," she says to them.

"It is simply not fair to expect twelve members of staff to sit quietly and patiently during assembly while one teacher is allowed to monopolise the whole bloody thing," I hiss to the deputy head.

"Well, what can we do?" she hisses back.

"I've got an idea. It's risky but it just might work."

"What is it?"

"Another five minutes and I'm going to set fire to the piano."

"You wouldn't dare."

"Probably not," I say. "However, I do have a secret weapon."

Just within reach is the small electric lighter we use for the birthday candles. I pick it up and press the trigger. A small flame appears. Sasha sees it out of the corner of her eye and turns. I extinguish it.

We play this game for several minutes until she gives up, dismisses the school and everyone exits with a good deal more enthusiam than they showed coming in.

"Do you know the new head of music wants to conduct a wholesale review of the way the subject's taught?" asks Sasha, as she stalks out.

"No," I say, "But if you hum it, I'm sure I'll pick it up........"


CrazyCath said...

Now *that's* clever. Well done. And not caught. Brilliant.

The Boisterous Butterfly said...

Oh, how we all love to hate Sasha! That no good woman who stands for everything that's stereotypical about today's modern female heads of education. And some types that are in middle management too and will forever stay there. Does she run a dictatorship or what?

Expat mum said...

Ha ha ha! My kids' school has a whole school assembly about three times a week and they all dread it. I feel even sorrier for my older two when it's the orchestra assembly, because they play in the orchestra. One of these days they are going to get jumped on the way home.

Iota said...

Come on Baby light my fire..