Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Me “Back from the Nurse already?”
Student 1 “There was a queue, she told me to come back in ten minutes. And Sir, on my next note, could you not write that I have leprosy?”
Me “Hey, you’ve learned a valuable lesson about reading things when they’ve given to you.”
Student 2 “Sir, what’s the difference between moral and immoral?”
Me “Moral is doing something good, immoral is doing something bad.”
Student 2 (leaning over to the student next to her) “See, Julie!”
Me “For example, you could say it was immoral to ask me a question, and, when I answer you, lean over and say ‘See Julie’ in order to make it look like you already knew the answer but were proving it to your friend; as you’ve done the last five times you’ve asked me something.”
Student 2 “I know... See, Julie!”
Student 3 “Sir, did you find my rough copy?”
Me “No, but to be fair, that’s probably because I haven’t looked yet.”
Student 3 “I asked you about it two days ago!”
Me “And I’m sure I’ll find it the very moment I start looking. You know it will be in one of these piles somewhere. It’s just a matter of going through them.”
Student 3 “You’re lucky you’re such a good teacher, Sir.”
Me “How do you mean?”
Student 3 “Because a teacher who wasn’t so good would probably not be able to cope with the mess you generate. Also, we’d be less likely to forgive you for things like losing our drafts.”
Me “That’s nice of you to say... I think. But your draft isn’t lost. It’s here... Somewhere.”
Student 4 “Sir, do you have any stories by Maori authors that we can read to finish this reading log?”
Me “Not on me, sorry.”
Student 4 “What about that pile of books by Witi Ihimaera on your desk? Isn’t he a Maori author?”
Me “No, he’s a crap author, and in order to become a teacher I had to sign a piece of paper saying I wouldn’t abuse any children; I’m not going to violate my contract by making you read Witi Ihimaera.”
Student 4 “But didn’t he write Whale Rider?”
Me “Yes, which is possibly the best movie to come out of this country; and almost certainly the worst book to do so.”
Student 4 “But can we read him for the reading log?”
Me “Yeah yeah. Alright everybody, listen up: If you still need a Maori author to fulfil the requirements of this reading standard, I have a pile of short-stories by Witi Ihimaera you could read. As far as I’m concerned, that counts as self-harm, but if you’re desperate, you might want to consider it.”
Student 5 “Why so much hate, Sir?”
Me “My hatred of Witi Ihimaera’s writing comes from reading Witi Ihimaera’s writing. Wait and see; it’ll happen to you.”
Student 1 “Sir, can I go back to the Nurse now?”
Me “Sure, here’s a note.”
Student 1 “Than... Sir, I don’t have Tourette’s Syndrome!”
Me “Ah, you’re learning!”


HORansome said...

Now now, 'The Matriarch' might well be a little longer than it needs to be (although, given when it was written it was probably thought to be quite pace-y) but it's a damn good book about Maoridom.

Apathy Jack said...

Oh, all of his books are damn good books about Maoridom - I love the guy's themes to death; he takes the dominant cultural influence of our country, and recasts it to remove the prejudices (most notably the sexism) that were ingrained in the traditions, making it relevant to modern society. That's awesome.

I just wish he could write that sort of thing in a way that didn't suck.

HORansome said...

Sometimes he's not recasting things but presenting them without the cultural baggage attached to them by a century and a half of our culture interfering.

Apathy Jack said...

Yes - and he's doing it in a way that's craply written.

Charlie said...

Amen to that. I was force-fed Whale Rider AND an assortment of Ihimaera's short stories last year. I bear emotional scars.

Dare I say it? Being Maori does not make you a good writer, or one worth studying. *Shock, horror.*