I used to teach in a lab that was joined to another with a prep room in between, in a self contained detached block. The block was a bit like a pair of huts, but a bit more substantial. The whole block was brick built with a flat roof that leaked like a sieve. Both labs had a huge bank of windows that looked out over a grassed area called the Quiet Green.
Richard Michaels (aka RM) – the hard-nosed mentor of mine and T-club member taught next door. RM had a way of controlling kids that was second to none and was always willing to “give ‘em a good whelping” if they stepped out of line.
One day I was chalking and talking to a class that were clearly being distracted by something outside on the Quiet Green. So I turned around to see a lad sheepishly standing on a picnic table right in the middle of this open space. I went outside to investigate and the kids I left behind in my lab jumped up on the side benches to get a grandstand view, faces pressed up at the glass of the windows. They all stared at this lonely looking boy stood on the picnic table.
RM had the whole of his own class lined up outside his lab and was barking orders at this clearly bewildered student as the rest looked on.
“That’s it son, up you get!” bellows RM.
The boy stands on the picnic table, blinking and unsure.
“You have not been paying any attention to me back there in that room; it is as if you are sticking two fingers up to me for the whole lesson”
The kid shuffles a bit with his tail between his legs.
“So you can come out, do it properly and stand up there for the whole world to see!” comes the cry, which is so loud that kids in the English block are looking out too at the spectacle.
RM stands there, arms folded. He barks again at this lad, who looks like he needs the toilet,
“So let’s be having you! Stick your two fingers up to me!”
The kid is very unsure as to how best to proceed. Giving RM the old “V” sign is something he is not comfortable with, nevertheless he slowly raises his hand.
“That’s it! Stick your fingers up!”
Two girls in the line stood outside the lab muffle a titter, but RM still turns around to glare at them.
“That’s all that I am good for isn’t it son? Two fingers…..”
The lad still stands there giving the salute.
I shake my head in disbelief and get back to my class.