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In Competition No. 2380 you were invited to provide a school report by a pupil assessing the qualities of a teacher.

The comp title refers to Anstey’s once widely read fantasy (1882) in which a schoolboy magically changes places with his father, Mr Bultitude, and from then on the boot is on the other foot. My youngest son, whose verbal reports on his teachers have always interested me more than their written ones on him, helped me judge this lot. Some of the plums he picked out were: ‘He thinks Paris is the capital of France. He needs a good kick up the arse’; ‘Attendance: satisfactory, except for the time he had that complete nervous breakdown’; and ‘He should make more effort to learn names. Some take advantage of their anonymity’. The winners, printed below, get £25 each, except for Alanna Blake who nets £30.

Mr Farker is freindly which is probally because he is quiet young. The girls mostly like him but the lads make jokes when he is trying to teach us history. He could do with some text books that are not as old as the stuff he teaches but he probally does’nt stand up for hisself in staff meetings enough to get money for new ones, his lessens are intresting when he shows us films or vids but there is two much copying out notes but he knows that keeps the lads busy but he is not like some teachers marking our homework while we do notes which is a good thing but sometimes the homwork isn’t always marked. Mr Farker did a good job running the History Club and it was pathetic to have it stopped just because of some trouble at those battlefields we visited.

Alanna Blake

Miss Bellermine has transformed English for me. She gives 100% effort and always succeeds in making what she says exciting, inspirational, heavenly. I sit stunned by her delivery, awe-struck by the way her gestures complement the poems she so obviously loves, loves, loves. Her methodology is flawless, a pleasure to witness. Without even trying she can render the simplest text stimulating, caressing and encouraging it to explode with rich meaning. Often my mind wanders back, when I am alone, to a phrase that has spilled from her lips and my senses swim. In a magical way she brings an intimacy to the lyrics of Byron and Shelley, but I believe the dullest writers would come to life in her hands. I have resolved to take as many extra lessons from her as she will allow so that I can enjoy the fullest benefits of her charismatic teaching.

Frank Mc Donald

Mr Mead made an unpromising start to the term, acquiring his nickname (Runny) only following the happy coincidence of a head cold with his lesson on Magna Carta. His ‘relevant’ style of history teaching is amusing; in comparing mediaeval minstrelsy to rap music he displayed almost parental levels of ignorance regarding the latter, and there’s a touching naivety about his request that pupils ‘read round’ his subject over the holidays. But he must work at his eccentricities if he is to succeed; loud shirts do not a character make, and there’s a whiff of both pathos and the midnight oil about that oft repeated ‘I once met Dr David Starkey’ anecdote. His attempts at discipline are commendably half-hearted, his lectures to miscreants more likely to inspire amusement at his mixed metaphors than the customary fear. Lacking the charisma for excellence or the application for mediocrity, Mr Mead fits right in.

Adrian Fry

Arnold’s first term cannot be said to have been an unalloyed success. Public schools such as Rugby have their own traditions, and he has been rather slow to settle into them. Some of the fellows, especially the sixth form, have not taken kindly to being recruited for duties properly the work of the servants and beaks. Arnold, whose previous teaching experience has been confined to private tutoring, has yet to appreciate the value of a liberal curriculum; if a fellow cannot learn to enjoy his bottle and his woman while he is here, he will hardly be equipped for life in Parliament or Empire. However, his intentions are good, if a little preachy, and if he can relax a little and be rather less zealous to put his stamp on an institution that does not need it, he may yet learn to be a sound upholder of our vigorous traditions.

Noel Petty

Mr Rantipole althow he has lived throogh alot of history like the last senchury and everything dosent seem to no much about it even the intresting bits like wars so what he is alwais going on about is ishoos and asking qwestions which is why he makes us fale our exams. If he told us things like ansers we woud pass and get better leege tables and speshul mezures and offsteds all round but he dosent he just goes on about what we woud like to put in mooseums and what shud we do with old mining places and if ski slopes are the anser or shud it be Meadowhall and the roll of women which he brings into everything. He wont let us do propper history like the Da Vinci Cowd and needs decent trainers and some hair-gel and shud try alot harder.

D.A. Prince

Classroom management: Stubbs must learn that control need not mean domination. He should also understand that sarcasm is a tool of elitist oppression. At the same time he would do well to recognise that his attempts to be ‘one of the guys’ are ineffective and embarrassing. ‘Cool’ and ‘wicked’ are no longer ‘now’ words.

Teaching: Frankly, he has been coasting all year. His notes are obviously recycled and he has made little effort to master the latest developments. He would do well to heed his own advice and ‘try the Internet’.

General: While not entirely a hopeless case, Stubbs must try harder if he is not to fall below an acceptable level of pedagogy. He could make a start by reviewing his personal appearance. He seems to think that wearing an ink-stained tweed jacket reeking of tobacco smoke is some kind of post-modern ironic statement. It isn’t.

W.J. Webster

No. 2383: Torquemada

This week’s torture is to supply a poem, preferably with rhymes, in which each line contains an anagram (more than one word can be involved; e.g. ‘Adonis said no’ is OK). Maximum 14 lines. Entries to ‘Competition No. 2383’ by 10 March.