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Rising To The Occasion

I go through stages when I wonder what on earth possessed me to leave teaching! I absolutely adored my high school kids - and English each day was a riot a minute! To be honest - I sometimes get a bit homesick ... 

That was, of course, until I had coffee with three ex-pupils recently. And then I suddenly remembered ... the reason my lessons were such fun, was because my pupils were always laughing ... at me! 

Take, for example, my lesson with my Grade 11s on "Lord of the Flies" - you know, the book about a planeful of school boys being evacuated from Britain. The plane makes an emergency landing on a deserted island and the boys eventually become naked savages who start hunting each other! (Of course, if it had been a planeful of GIRLS, they would have made face masks out of fruit and leaves while spending their days braiding each other's hair and discussing their relationships with their mothers. But I digress...) 

Jon, having been absent the day before, was a little confused. "Ma'am," he asked while flipping through his notes, "what happened to the plane's pilot?" 

"He ejaculated," I replied. 

Silence. 

"He ejaculated?" asked Jon, looking totally bewildered. 

"Yes," I replied a little irritably, "if your plane was about to crash, wouldn't you try to ejaculate?" 

"Well, not really," mumbled Jon, looking a little embarrassed. "It would be the last thing on my mind!" 

For some reason, a murmur seemed to go around the class, with a lot of nudging and whispering .... This did not help my PMS, sleep-deprived, hung-over mood! 

"Oh please," I responded, a little louder than usual, "he was about to die - what else was he supposed to do? Ejaculation was his only option!" 

"I guess you could say," said Nicholas quite helpfully, "that he rose to the occasion." 

Screams of laughter from the class. 

"Yes," I said doubtfully, not quite sure of what was going on, "that would be a fair comment!" 

"But was it hard?" asked James from the back of the class. 

"I imagine so," I replied, eyes darting suspiciously from face to face, "especially if it was his first time." 

The class, at this point, was totally out of control. 

"What is WRONG with you today?" I screamed at no-one in particular. "You are getting way out of hand!" 

This for some strange reason seemed to set them off again. Nicholas was rocking on his chair, tears streaming down his face, Jon was howling with laughter and James had his head down on his desk, shoulders shaking. 

I had no choice. I had to leave the class. No teacher worth her salt will put up with such immaturity. 

The next day, there was a very apologetic note on my desk, signed by the entire class. 

"Dear Ma'am," it read, "we are so sorry for rubbing you up the wrong way. We think you are an excellent teacher and really appreciate your hands-on approach. If you are up to it, can we read in English today? We love the bit about the pilot ejaculating! "Lord of the Flies" is the best book! Signed: Grade 11C."

It was only then that I realised what I had done! To this day, I cannot say the word "eject" without blushing. 

(Much as I miss teaching, my career as a journalist allows me to edit, rewrite, and press the delete button. Maybe I should stay where I am?) 

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