Saturday, 6 June 2015

Stop summoning demons and get on with your maths

It's taken nearly a week for me to cotton on to the lack of pencils in our classroom, but it seems it can all be explained by the craze of Charlie Charlie. I had noticed some children playing about with pencils, but assumed it was the usual stuff they get up to when their attention drifts. Then, a couple of afternoons ago, one Year 6 boy came up to me, white in the face, and told me that he was never coming back to school again 'because the demon thing really works and our classroom is haunted'. 'Okaaaaay,' I replied, and they explained the Charlie Charlie thing to me. Basically, if you're extremely gullible, don't know how gravity works, and have forgotten all you ever learnt about science, you cross two pencils over, ask them questions, and they get possessed by a demon which answers your questions. (I'm thinking this must be a very lesser type of demon. The sort that get relegated to possessing pencils, and will never inspire a 'based on a true story' type of movie.)

As the boy who had got the jitters was one of our more intelligent students, I was a bit startled that he had been so easily taken in, but then an unrelated conversation in the staffroom had an adult confessing that she thought Ouija boards really worked, so what hope was there? Anyway, I thought I'd managed to sort out the boy's fears, when Ms Fab said she'd had to ban the class from playing the Charlie Charlie game yesterday lunch time, as they were all getting a bit silly and she was worried someone might tell the infants about it (like they did with the Bloody Mary game a year or so ago, which made an infant so frightened to go to the bathroom, in case she saw something in the mirror, that we had a furious mother storming into school). As we were having a bit of a 'finishing off / freetime' session, I stopped the class, told them, in the nicest possible way (I hope) to stop being pathetic, and we discussed the science behind the pencil-spinning. 'But a priest was on the news and says it's dangerous,' The Boy Formerly Thought of as Clever told me. I wasn't sure whether to believe that or not but, yes, I've now read it on the internet, so it must be true: a Catholic priest has warned students that they are opening themselves up to demonic activity. Sigh. More science lessons needed. 

(By the way, I am aware that a few of my recent posts may come across as bashing religion. That's not my intent: I have friends with a range of religious beliefs and they're all very nice people. However, people who use their religions as an excuse to be an arse are in for a bashing.)

During our class discussion, a more enlightened boy said exactly what I had wanted to: 'So, basically, we know it's not haunted and the people who carry on doing it are being stupid attention-seekers because it's a load of crap.' 'Yes, exactly,' I told him, and then remembered that I needed to add, 'but please don't use that word at school.' 

And on the subject of weird stuff, we went to see Derren Brown's stage show 'Miracle' in Norwich last week. Amazing, brilliant, and his book Tricks of the Mind explains just how Ouija boards and the like are 'a load of crap' (to quote my favourite student of the moment). 

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