A quiz night flounder

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
It's the annual parents' association quiz night next week and once again staff captain Jenny thinks it a good idea to ask me to feature in her team - imaginatively named The Teachers.

Just because I was the first to tell her that Swindon Town is the only league football team to contain nothing of the word "mackerel" in its name she seems to consider me some kind of - her words - "King of Trivia".

"King of Trivia"- I ask you! It's doubly unfair to be cast in such a dorkishly unattractive light while not being remotely able to live up to the name.

Unless the mackerel question crops up - or we happen to get asked how fat you need to be in order to become bullet-proof (roughly 70 stone of surrounding blubber required to prevent bullet reaching organs), I shall flounder as much as the rest of our team.

We may occasionally punch the air when the question-master poses something we prophesied during the team's pre-quiz powwow (at some point all such quizzes require you to write the answer "You'd find it on the moon"), but these are rare moments of trivial triumph for our table.

The truth is that most modern-day teachers have peaked on the knowledge front by about the age of 22. Rather frustratingly for a trade like ours there just isn't enough free time to learn much more about the world after that.

Those of us with young children have even less time to acquire any new knowledge, other than a worrying degree of detail about Noddy's relationship with Tessie Bear.

No wonder we now prefer education to be about developing pupils'

investigative skills rather than trying to fill their heads with knowledge - we naturally feel a little uneasy about trying to do the latter.

But unfortunately quiz night offers us a sobering, very public reminder of what much of the adult world out there considers to be useful education.

Never mind "developing investigative skills", what's the capital of Vermont? Another progressively humiliating evening for The Teachers seems inevitable.

I can picture the scenes already. After about round three, surrounding teams of parents, pupils and catastrophically dressed professional quizzers will have all started to glance over at us with their usual expressions of ill-concealed scorn as our points score slips further and further behind theirs.

By round nine we'll doubtless be slugging it out again with a bunch of semi-drunken sixth-formers to avoid the ignominy of last place. "Call themselves teachers?"

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