Pipped off with mobiles

14th January 2005 at 00:00
I was droning on about The Ancient Mariner to my sixth form. Someone taped the lesson and flogged it to his chums at St Paul's. I was bootlegged - "Whitwham - live in west London!". I felt briefly flattered. Then extremely cheesed off. My lesson had been nicked. I'd been tricked by technology.

This was years ago. Modern machines are much worse. Look at some of the Year 10s. Hooded monks with headphones, they listen to dystopian lyrics at plane- crash volume.

Dillywig grunts along to the road drill in his skull and even Lily, my A* genius, is lost to the Libertines. Sabrina fiddles. Decibelle diddles. And Dave Mania twiddles. He's on level 1b in literacy and level 10a in textsperanto.

Furnace takes a photo of his own head. Crumlin seems to be having electronic sex with a paramour.

It's Decibelle. "Yesss!" she squawks and texts back a tryst. Sex texts seem to beat our set texts.

"Can we please turn to Carol Ann Duffy?" No, we can't.

"Beep! Beep!" It's Beyonce. "Beep! Beep!" It's Nabila's mum. "She says she left the key under the flower pot, sir."

"I'm her teacher!" I bark into the wretched machine.

Look at some of the Year 7s in the computer room. We are meant to be typing up our Crocus poems - not clicking on "Stick Men" or "Grand Theft Auto San Andreas". Attila is gawping at "Baywatch Beauties". They emerge on the printer. "I'll tell your mum." He goes ashen.

But I can't beat these machines. Can it get any worse? Yes. I'm about to have a plenary with Year 10. The pips go. I check with the clock. It's conked out. "Pip! Pip! Pip!" I must stop. I must dismiss the class. They stand up in a creepy Trappist silence. Crumlin looks humbly at the floor.

Plum looks dimly at the clock. Cordelia just looks pale and wan. The class exit formally. Cordelia remains.

"Please sir, the lesson hasn't ended."

"I'm afraid it has, Cordelia."

"No sir, you've been duped sir!"

"The pips have gone, Cordelia."

"I'm afraid they haven't, sir. It's David, sir. He records them on his mobile. So we can leave early! There's 10 minutes to go, sir."

Drat! And I'm in for bigger trouble, she warns. Mania, it would appear, is at the cutting edge of technology.

"He's got a 3G mobile, sir!" He can, apparently, video my lessons. And flog them down the Portobello road.

"Pip! Pip! Pip!" Has the lesson really ended? Or has the dread Mania returned?

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