The class was laughing. A couple looked like they might cry. I hoped none would tell their parents

22nd December 2006 at 00:00
Best - My best lesson was for a Year 7 class on the use of sound in animation. I was teaching media studies - I was also off the national curriculum. That was a tonic.

I had a television facing the wall. The class asked whether it was left from another lesson, or whether they would get to watch a video, or whether they would be able to watch X-Men 3.

I explained the lesson would be about how background sounds were used in animation. The class would listen to the sound without the picture for the first 15 minutes of a film. They would record what they thought was happening, and what kind of film they were watching.

The brighter students told me this was going to be easy and they could just listen to the dialogue. I had that covered. They were going to listen to a Japanese film, in Japanese.

They could listen to the English dub while they watched the same film 15 minutes afterwards - but only if they did a good job at interpreting the sounds. They listened to the movie's orchestral score with an intensity they usually only mustered when I needed to whisper to another teacher.

I got good responses when I stopped the movie after 15 minutes at a natural climax. I had the immediate opportunity to reward the class by spinning around the TV and letting them watch what they had just heard from Spirited Away, the classic animation. The climax which they had guessed was sickly was exactly that - a girl's parents being turned into pigs. And that happened to occur right on the B of the bell. Perfect

Worst - It was going to be a brilliant lesson. I was on my PGCE programme and being observed by the class teacher.

They were a Year 7 class made up entirely of Pakistani Muslims, but that didn't phase me. I had been taught all my lessons about cultural sensitivity: not showing my feet; stopping them mocking mothers; and most definitely making sure nobody said the Urdu equivalent of the c-word, pronounced "puddee".

I was going to introduce the class to the language of Shakespeare. "And let the great Gods", I read from King Lear. The class was rapt. Chest out, I intoned: "Who raise this dreadful pudde'r, o'er our heads". But unfortunately I hadn't said that. I had said: "Who raise this dreadful puddee, o'er our heads".

The class was laughing. A couple looked like they might cry. I hoped none would tell their parents. I looked up to the heavens and I was stricken by the mental image I had just described, the dreadful "puddee" - half arousing, half terrifying.

The great Gods had struck. Or maybe Shakespeare still had subversive power.

A sudden roar drowned out the class, and that was some achievement.

It was their class teacher. She screamed at the class: "Mr Bleazard has said nothing funny. Stop laughing, you should all be ashamed of yourself trying to disrupt his lesson. I've a good mind to ring every one of your parents and explain exactly what just happened here.

"Mr Bleazard, would you kindly repeat yourself"

Joe Bleazard is a teacher in Birmingham

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