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Soundbite;Parting shots

Years ago I taught English to a Year 7 set. Friday afternoons were hard-going; one time the children gave talks on their hobbies.

Marie brought in a pile of picture postcards and stood in front of us. She held up a postcard and told us what was on it and where it came from. She talked quickly and only the front row could see the picture. Everybody did their best to listen, but Terry, in the back row, couldn't cope. He yawned hugely, pulled faces at Marie, then put his hands around his neck, stuck out his tongue and pretended to strangle himself.

At the end of the lesson I kept Terry back. "Right, Terry," I said, "I want you to write an essay as punishment, and bring it to me on Monday. Two sides. The title is 'My hobbies'."

Terry frowned. Joke over. This was serious. "OK, sir. Fair enough. But I don't know what your hobbies are."

Alec Shorrocks

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