A Tight Clamp

The teacher walks in and surveys the room. There is beer on his breath and his skin appears yellow under the harsh classroom light. Rows of faces stare at him with expressions that range from bored indifference to outright hostility. Now he is an unknown quantity, but later there will be many discussions of his habits. The frequent trips to the store room, for example, and the so called ‘hangover lessons’ in which he will instruct the class to read through their books quietly while he sits with his head in his hands. Then, too, there will be the excuses for not marking and returning homework, excuses far more pathetic than anything ever put forward by the pupils. Years after this he will be remembered by a handful, and only in passing, as a joke rather than an inspiration.

The light glimmers on his short black hair and John Shuttleworth glasses. He claps his hands together loudly and speaks, a hint of Liverpool in his accent. “Right. I’m gonna learn youse some English.”

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