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Thursday, July 11, 2013

How "Show and Tell" can do a teacher's head in!

One thing I don’t look forward to in my weekly schedule of teaching little kids is “Show and Tell” time.

Occasionally a fledgling raconteur will bring in something worthwhile to chat about, but most times the objet du jour is nothing more than a rock they've acquired from the bottom of their driveway.

They stand proudly with their arms extended proffering the dreary lump of granite for the rest of the class to admire. As they stand mutely with a bashful grin on their small freckled face I attempt to extricate some sort of commentary.

“That’s a really nice rock, Hamish!” I’ll say encouragingly. “Where did you get it from?”

“I forget.”

“What sort of rock do you think it might be?” I’ll persist hopefully.

“I dunno.”

After several awkward moments I eventually throw it out to the class.

“Okay, who has questions for Hamish about his rock?”

The questions are almost as lacklustre as the initial lecturette.

Question: “How old is it?” Reply: “Two weeks.”

Question: “Is it your favourite rock?” Reply: “Yes.”

Question: “How long have you had it?” Reply: “I don’t know.”

“Right,” I will interrupt, “time to finish your show and tell, Hamish. No I’m sorry but you can’t pass it around the class. Remember what happened last time when we passed around Tamara’s crystal unicorn and someone accidentally dropped it?”

One morning, several years ago, one young lad turned up at the classroom door tenuously holding on to the collars of a pair of fully grown, extra-large Dalmatians. The two hounds were straining to escape his grip and it was amazing he was able to keep hold of them as he was a scrawny little fellow.

“Cecil!” I exclaimed. “What are you doing with those dogs?”

“They’re my dogs, Mrs. P! I’ve brought them for show and tell!”

I peered apprehensively around the door, urgently scanning for his mother who I felt sure would be around the corner waiting to take the dogs home as soon as Cecil had finished his canine presentation.

“Where’s your mother, Cecil?” I entreated, noticing that the dogs were getting very restless and wondering why Cecil’s mother hadn’t at least put them on a leash.

“She’s at home,” he replied.

“You’ve got to be frickin kidding me!” I thought.

Cecil gave his little talk, hastened on by my insistent petitions to finish quickly. He informed us all of the dogs’ names, what he fed them each day, where they slept and how much he loved them.

I rang the Deputy Principal and after explaining my predicament, she came down and took the dogs away to be imprisoned in an airconditioning enclosure until Cecil’s mother could be contacted.

Cecil sobbed unrelentingly. “They’ll be scared!” he bawled. “They aren’t used to being locked up.”

About twenty minutes later I had a call from the office. Cecil’s mother had been contacted.

She didn’t know anything about the dogs.

She didn’t own any dogs...

After some investigative work it was revealed that the Dalmatians had escaped from a house a few streets away and had been scavenging around the school tuck shop where Cecil had evidently decided to adopt them on the spot.