Sometimes, worries can be bigger on the inside

Dylan’s dojos were lost in space until a deep search revealed his reading record
12th May 2017, 12:00am
Magazine Article Image


Sometimes, worries can be bigger on the inside

When the Doctor gets a new assistant in Doctor Who, it’s interesting to watch their reaction on discovering the Tardis is bigger on the inside than the outside. Bill Potts, the Doctor’s time-travelling assistant, thought he’d built an extension on the back of a cool 1960s-style police box. It wasn’t until it transported her elsewhere that she recognised its seemingly impossible dimensions were real.

Right now, I am having similar problems regarding Dylan’s bag. It might not be bigger on the inside but it does contain more things than seems physically possible. A downside of this is that he can’t find his Home-School Reading Record. Although its loss isn’t important to the survival of the universe (or even a small planet located in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way), it is imperative to Dylan’s needs.

The daily presentation of his Home-School Reading Record means that he receives Dojos (electronic reward tokens), which he has already factored into his day. The uncertainty principle is not something Dylan is comfortable with. Every morning he insists on checking what’s in his lunchbox, which pencil he will use, which chair he will sit on, which chairs everyone else will sit on, the precise location of the crayon pot and his Dojos.

Recovery mode

But Dylan’s bag is the product of human (as opposed to Gallifreyan) technology, and is restricted by time and a set of relatively small dimensions. Consequently, it is subject to the first law of clutter, which states that stuff always exceeds storage capacity.

To calm Dylan’s frustrations, which are bigger inside and outside than is reasonably possible, I suggest we empty his bag onto the table and put everything back, item by item, until we find what we are looking for. This is what Mrs Eddison does with her handbag when she’s searching for something that was definitely in there the last time she looked. Missing items recovered using this method have included sticking plasters, nail scissors, Polo mints, lip balm, till receipts, paracetamol, anti-bacterial gel, a screwdriver and my reading glasses.

But Dylan is alarmed by the mere suggestion and grips his bag more protectively than ever. To Dylan, emptying his bag in full view of everyone else would be like revealing the contents of his mind to the world. And who would want their crumpled up innermost secrets and their deepest dog-eared thoughts dragged out into the open for everyone to gawp at? Even worse, what if it were impossible to get them all back in again afterwards? 

The compromise solution is simple: while I get on with teaching, Dylan disappears into the book corner to carry out a more detailed search in private. Five minutes later, he taps me on the shoulder and thrusts a battered Home-School Reading Record at me.

“Put it on my desk and I’ll check it later,” I tell him, but he refuses. He is aware that my desk is home to more things than is physically possible. It might not be a Tardis, but there is still a good chance anything left on it will end up lost in time and space. 

Steve Eddison teaches at Arbourthorne Community Primary School in Sheffield

You need a Tes subscription to read this article

Subscribe now to read this article and get other subscriber-only content

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive articles and email newletters

Already registered? Log in

You need a subscription to read this article

Subscribe now to read this article and get other subscriber-only content, including:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive articles and email newsletters
Most read
Most shared