In the news - Andrew John Booker

17th December 2010 at 00:00

Andrew, 47, is a teacher-turned-consultant from Nottingham. Better known as AJ Booker, he is the creator of www.EvilDetentions.com, a world-famous website brimming with unusual detention ideas. Last month, he launched the EvilDetentions iPhone app, continuing his detention revolution.

Evil detentions? How evil are we talking?

"People often don't realise the slang meaning of evil - it's really creativity and not revenge. I put ideas on The TES forum and teachers sent in their own ideas. Some of them were a bit severe. One science teacher said we should hit the kids around the head with a metal pole. I thought, 'Hmm, someone has anger management issues'. I sent a polite email back on how evil detentions were about creativity."

When did your detentions become so wicked?

"I saw a detention where a boy was given a box of screws and told to count them out in tens. At the end of the detention they were swept back into the bucket - the look on his face was damaging. Kids become resentful if you waste their time, and you break down the teacher-child relationship."

How do you win them over, then?

"Two boys were throwing paper around in my lesson so I gave them some paper and 15 minutes to make the longest strip of paper, by tearing them off and sticking them together. The next lunchtime, I had five people at my door saying my detention was evil. Later, I realised they meant cool."

Students were queuing up for your detentions?

"I earnt respect as a teacher. The students became motivated; if they finished their work early in my lessons they were allowed to do an evil detention. Some are more onerous than others. In one, they have to copy a text and type out every word that appears with a different font for a different letter. That is less popular. Making paper planes may seem like fun, but if they have to fly for a minimum of five seconds, that can be difficult. It's all down to context and variation."

Were there any real evil detentions in your day?

"Yes, we were made to do cross country after school in 18 inches of snow in football boots. Mr Davies, our geography master, was a fell-running champion. I'd see his silhouette racing ahead, shouting at us. We'd go back to the showers and our skin was light blue."

How do you define a good detention?

"Anything where students are made to do something that wastes their time is worthless and truly evil. It's important that teachers are good communicators inspire students to do things differently."

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