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Further Reminiscences 1

By litherlandb, Dec 19 2015 04:35PM

I do love the utterly bizarre and in teaching you come across it with great regularity. It isn’t always children or parents. Sometimes it isn’t even those rather odd individuals any community throws up. Occasionally (yes, I must admit it) it’s the teachers.

Let me tell you about Zoe – not her name, of course. She had a child in my class who was about eight at the time. Zoe was described by her friends as ‘very religious’ and by those of a more critical nature as ‘a bit over the top’. The word ‘fundamentalist’ wasn’t really used in those days but I dare say she would have fit the bill quite nicely.

She refused to teach about dinosaurs on the grounds that they couldn’t have existed, not within the sort of time scales science proposed. Even dinosaur toys were surreptitiously removed from the classroom. She was also a creationist which, when you boil it down to the fundamentals, meant she didn’t believe in anything beyond a week last Sunday.

She abhorred Halloween, a view which I shared but for very different reasons. Her child was strictly prohibited from drawing any of the elvish, demonic creatures other children drew. He had to draw an angel which, in a strangely ironic way, seemed to her more credible. This was fine until one day a supply teacher, unaware of the restriction she had placed on her child, allowed him to create a monstrous looking hook-nosed creature (which, coincidentally, bore a remarkable resemblance to the cook we had at that time). She had mounted and displayed it before I had time to warn her. She left that day, happy that she had provided the children with an enjoyable activity.

Since the offending picture was proudly displayed in the board in the entrance hall where his mother was certain to see it when she brought him to school there was only one thing to do. With the aid of her son we created a beautiful pair of wings. I have to say it was the most evil looking angel that has every graced a school wall.

Poor Zoe, whom I like immensely during her more rational spells, also spent a lot of time (rather more than it warranted) attempting to persuade me that a nearby village had a coven of Satanists who danced naked in a local wood. Lots of people had seen them, she explained. I was tempted to suggest that the thought of a number of middle aged, naked people dancing in a wood was more likely to drive me to the pub than to any secret viewing area. However, she remained convinced. Only on one occasion did I venture to suggest that perhaps the writhing twirling, twisting dances she described might have rather more to do with the midges prevalent at that season than to any Satanic ritual.

We did not speak of it again.

Poor Zoe, I often wonder what she’s doing now.

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