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This is a question School Assemblies

Our school assemblies were often presided over by the local vicar, who once warned us of the dreadful dangers of mixing with "Rods and Mockers". One of the cool teachers laughed. Tell us about mad headteachers and assemblies gone wrong.

Inspired by the mighty @Rhodri on Twitter

(, Thu 13 Jun 2013, 12:43)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

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We got our local comprehensive from IKEA, and they delivered it flat pack.
So, that was my introduction to school assembly.
(, Sun 16 Jun 2013, 16:36, 5 replies)
Glad That I Live Am I
One of the hymns we used to sing in assembly was Glad That I Live Am I. A simple, rather naive little thing. Each time it appeared on the hymn-chart there would be sniggers and snorts of derision.

But I always enjoyed it, relishing its simple message:

Glad that I live am I,
That the sky is blue;
Glad for the country lanes
And the fall of dew.

After the sun the rain,
After rain the sun,
This is the way of life,
Till the work be done.

All that we need to do,
Be we low or high,
Is to see that we grow
Nearer the sky.

I also enjoyed it for another, more personal reason. I used to change the first verse and sing:

Glad that I live am I,
That the sky is blue;
Glad for the country lanes
And for Doctor Who.

But one day Dirty Dolmon overheard this and gave me the mother of all Chinese burns after assembly. Didn't stop me though - I just made sure I sat away from Dirty Dolmon and all the other tuoughs.

Dktr S
(, Sun 16 Jun 2013, 16:34, 4 replies)
Dawkins would be proud...
When I was training to be a teacher, I taught in a lovely C of E village school, set in the lush green hills of the west country. Taking a reception age class to assembly is usually relatively entertaining, as the little tikes can barely restrain themselves from shouting out at every available opportunity. As this class had one or two children who were more vocal than your average five year old, I was encouraged by the the main class teacher to sit with one of them, whom I shall name Archie.

The assembly begins with the headteacher lighting a candle and the whole school murmuring 'Jesus is the light of the world'. The headteacher then asks the assembled mass, "What do you know about God?"

Little Archie begins furiously whispering. I encourage him to raise his hand if he has something to say, which, to my surprise, he complies with. The bespectacled and cardigan-wearing old lass, who was the sort of headteacher you couldn't ever imagine shouting, leans down and kindly asks Archie, "What can you tell me about God?"

There is a hush around the hall as all ears crane to hear what the one of the youngest of our gathering has to say about theology.

"God died a very long time ago. Now he's gone." Archie replied, beaming. As a vaguely agnostic Hindu, it was all I could do to repress the belly laugh at the expression of revulsion and horror that crossed the headteachers' face.
(, Sun 16 Jun 2013, 16:34, 2 replies)
First day of secondary school
On our first day of secondary school we were all brought in for an assembly with the headmaster. The standard stuff about the choices you make in the next five years affecting the rest of your life, and that you needed to straighten up and fly right today, not two weeks before your GCSEs. To really drive the point home he singled out a boy to ask him a question. Unfortunately for him he singled out Alphonse. Alphonse was a Sudanese refugee who wasn't overly confident with the English language (that soon changed as he worked his bollocks off and ended up in top set English). The headmaster looked at him and asked in a booming voice: "You, boy, what will you do after you've finished school?"

"Sir! I am going to go home and read my book!"

After the laughter subsided he was praised for his eagerness to learn.
(, Sun 16 Jun 2013, 16:06, 2 replies)
Christmas tidings.
Every christmas my little primary school would do a play and sing carols to the adoring/bored parents on their wee wooden seats. A few years in and our head decided this was ENOUGH. We had to have EXTRA assemblies until we could SING IT RIGHT. This being the head teacher who famously stood up at an easter event and told us all, including the parents, that our singing was abysmal and we should be ashamed.

So there we gathered to practice our song over and over and over until she stopped being mental. It took us a wee bit but we got it in the end. Sort of...

"We wi- you a merry chri-ma-! We wi- you a merry chri-ma-! We wi- you a merry chri-ma-! And a happy new yeeeear."

Satisfied, the night drew near. We were full of christmas joy and good spirits, and the energy that comes from showing off to a room full of adults. We could do this, damn it!! We drew breath...

"Whee whish you a mherry chrisssssmasssss! Whee whish you a mherry chrisssssmasssss! Whee whish you a mherry chrisssssmasssss! AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

We hissed and bellowed triumphantly to our applauding parents and our fuming head.

I saw her yeeeears later, long after I'd left and she'd retired. She's just this lovely little old lady now! How does that work??
(, Sun 16 Jun 2013, 15:03, 3 replies)
I've seen things you wouldn't believe
Piss pouring over parquet flooring. A deputy head's breakdown. A shit left inside a baby grand piano. All these moment are lost in time like little gobs in the communal urinal.
(, Sun 16 Jun 2013, 13:33, 14 replies)
Jumpers for goalposts and Izal bog paper
In a First School (non of this puffed up pretentious "Primary" school, thanks) many many years ago, a young Tesco Quality was in a school assembly.

Unfortunately, a kid called Darren who was sat 2 to the right had trod in dog shit, and it fucking stank. He was called "shitshoe" all the way through up until High School, until which he decided the derision was all too much, and decided to silence his pain with cheap cider and drugs.

Bless.
(, Sun 16 Jun 2013, 0:42, Reply)
Our headmaster was a fan of audience participation.
School assemblies were themed - every week, he would write a question on the whiteboard outside the PE hall, and when assembly took place he would ask for volunteers to stand up in front of the whole school and tell their stories.

I can't remember any details of individual tales, but most of the stories were either self-obsessed, self-aggrandising bullshit or incoherent gibberish. Every fucking week it was the same.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 22:16, 42 replies)
This one time... at boy's comp...
One of the deputy heads was up on stage bawling at us because someone had been vandalising the book ends in the school library. Several of these folded metal book ends (which were similar to this one) had been folded down flat.

The one being waved manically in front of us, however, wasn't just folded flat, but had the inked-on addition of a bell end and pubes (maybe three per ball, maybe more, the rule wasn't around back then). We weren't sure whether he'd spotted this or was just playing hell because it had been flattened, but I'm sure the sniggering amongst the assembled teenagers didn't help.

Length: about 8 inches and finished in grey powder-coat.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 22:03, Reply)
No Sh!t, Einstein!
Like Dr. Skagra, it was school assemblies which made me into a confirmed atheist.

By the time I'd reached the 5th year in our BSC (Bog Standard Comprehensive), there were too many pupils for us all to congregate in the Top Gym+Music Room for morning assembly. So, the top two streams of the Fifth were instead herded into two history classrooms in the bottom block which were made into one by hauling back the partition between them. Whilst the headmaster ('The Gaffer') presided over the Main Event at the other end of the school, we were forced to submit to the Gardening teacher (inevitably nick-named 'Bayleaf'). There were no hymns as I recall (there was scarcely room for all of us in there, let alone a piano).

The trouble was that Bayleaf combined great long-windedness with a religious zeal totally absent from The Gaffer (who usually used assemblies as a method of humiliating boys who had, for example, been caught pissing in the wash-basin in the top bog ("I was desperate!", moaned the boy, seemingly ignorant of the inconvenient fact of a large, fsck-you trough urinal just two feet away)). This led Bayleaf to get carried away a bit.

I don't remember the context now, but one morning Bayleaf remarked, "And, of course, as Einstein pointed out, you can travel between the Sun and the Earth eight times in a second..."

Those of us doing O-level Physics gave each other meaningful looks and tried to stifle our derision for the remaining ten minutes of the assembly. It was at that point that I fully realised for the first time that religion is not only bullshit, but is a primary cause of bullshitting in others. A salutory lesson.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 21:50, 3 replies)
I can't unsee that.
I can, to paraphrase Robert Louis Stevenson, remember her as if it was yesterday. But I still can't work out why they would do this to us.

Granted, 40% of pupils left with no qualifications at all, some followed their mums into the oldest game in the world, one got banged up a couple of years later for murdering a grannie, etc, but still, there was no bloody need for that.

Our last assembly of school. The teachers emerged from the fug that was the staff room, reeking of smoke, and decided that they were going to do a 'gang show' of sorts.

Hmmm. Well, it started amicably enough, one teacher deciding to weave as many surnames as possible into a short story, 'I stood on a Sharp Flint' is the only sentence I can remember...

Skip to the end, the grand finale.

Miss Wells.

Ah Miss Wells, harridan of this parish. Horn-rimmed glasses, prim, proper, fierce. A pearl necklace worn without hint of irony. Retiring with us, that year. The head mistress no less.

The lights dimmed. The music started. *that* music. Often promising, rarely portentious. But of course, context is key.

Dressed in chiffon and rose-coloured taffeta, with a feather boa to boot, she proceed to gyrate in what we can only assume she thought was an alluring manner.

Layer one I can't remember clearly, as she didn't spend that much time in it, but layers two and three are the ones that are etched indelibly...Layer two was a black negligee. The merest suggestion of stockings and suspenders underneath.

Oh. my. god. For the love of all things bright and beautiful, please stop there.

And then the negligee came off.

Really Miss Wells, what were you thinking? That we were all biddy fiddlers? Did you lose a bet? Did the cookery and metalwork teachers, caught inflagrante in the stock cupboard, have something on you? A bizzare tryst? We will never know.

But the sight of a 60+ year old woman wobbling around the stage in a bra and knickers watched by 200 teenagers, through barely parted fingers?

Yeah gods.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 19:25, 9 replies)
O Jesus I Have Promised
Like most of my generation, we were made to sing hymns during school assemblies. Never bothered me or affected my spiritual development (unless it's the reason I am an atheist), didn't and don't see a problem with it, Christianity is (or was then) the dominant religion of this country, can't criticise them for trying to indocrinate the young and impressionable.

And some of the hymns were fun to sing. We especially enjoyed belting out O Come All Ye Faithful and Onward Christian Soldiers, for some reason.

O Jesus I Have Promised was not one of the fun ones. A dull, plodding, dreary number. Until! One day the teachers announced that they were going to try it, but to a completely different tune! This one was fast and zippy, jaunty and uplifting!

But it only happened once. Next time, and every time after that, when the teacher turned the massive hymn flipchart page over (though we did not know then the term 'flipchart) and the verses of O Jesus appeared a thrill of excitement would thrum through us.

A thrill quickly extinguished by Mrs Wilmott's arthritic fingers as she began to hammer out not the new fun version but the old dull version of the hymn on ye olde skool piano.

I can still hear both versions in my head (not at the same time of course).

Maybe if they had persisted with the fun version of O Jesus I might now be a Christian.

Scary thought.

Dktr S
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 18:58, 7 replies)
"Good Morning, Mr. Dog, Good morning teachers, good morning everyone"
One morning were all sitting in the school hall waiting for The Headmaster to arrive. As in probably all schools ,the protocol was that when he arrived we would all stand while he walked down the aisle, got up on to the stage, he would say "Good morning" then we would reply "Good morning sir" then he would say "Sit down" then assembly would begin. Well this particular morning just before he arrived a stray dog walked into the hall and trotted down the aisle, large as life wagging his tail as if he owned the place! Well "Great minds think alike" as they say, with that EVERYONE stood up! Half the teachers burst out laughing while the other half went positively ape. One old guy shouted "Will someone please get that bloody dog out before the head sees it!"
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 14:46, 1 reply)
Lessons learned from Rocky III
Every Monday and Friday the ~800 boys of our school would gather in the main hall, and the teachers and the head boy would be seated on the stage. When everybody was in position our Scottich headmaster, gown and all, would walk through the crowd of boys and take his place upon the stage with the teachers.

It had been remarked that his entrance resembled that of a boxer... So for the last assembly before they left, a group of prefects with access to the schools PA decided to cue up "Eye of the Tiger" to play when the head began his walk to the stage.

Although this plan worked perfectly and caused much amusement amongst the sixth formers who knew what was going on, those responsible seemed somewhat surprised that the head did not find it funny. As the glowering headmaster approached the stage the look on the head boy's face slowly changed to terror and he began frantically making the "cut" gesture. The music stopped and in his best "Mr Mackay from Porridge" voice simply said "There will be no more of that".

Those responsible escaped expulsion (although they were leaving anyway this would have meant having their exam entries removed) probably only because one of the perpertrators was the son of a maths teacher.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 14:25, 1 reply)
Lip sync
At St Mary's C of E Primary, we got to sing a lot of hymns.

No big deal, but it occurred to me that I could save some effort by just mouthing along rather than singing. So that's what I did for a while. Until one day, eagle-eyed Mrs Shipham spotted me. She put her half-moon spectacles back on and ordered the whole class except me to stop singing. The result was me gulping like a goldfish out of water whilst being accompanied by Mrs Piaskowski on the piano.

Mrs Shipham, if you're reading this, drop me an email and I'll arrange for the return of that Vicky the Viking book I borrowed from you in 1977 and never returned.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 14:15, Reply)
Nazis
Secondhand this one, but at sixth form I did physics with a kid who had been at Bradfield College (near Reading) until his parents fell on hard times or something. Anyway, it was a fairly disciplined environment and the school troublemaker, one of the boarders, decided to make a point.

He gets one of the bed sheets and dyes it red, then carefully paints a white roundel and black swastika in the middle to make the sort of banner that Albert Speer would have been proud to see hanging from the Reichstag. This is then rolled up around a broom handle and, one night with the aid of the gym equipment, installed in a dim corner of the main hall, between the ceiling and the wall.

The school is having a big dinner with speeches and stuff when he pulls a rope and the banner unfurls right down the wall. Apparently everyone was speechless for about 30 seconds, then all the pupils started laughing and all the teachers went apeshit.

There was a witch-hunt and the perp was expelled, but it was probably worth it.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 13:30, 1 reply)
Edward bear goes bump, bump, bump
I went to a high achieving state school in Derbyshire. I loved school and the vast majority of my teachers and everything about it. I'm clearly a product of a good system because now I'm, well, also a teacher!

My year group quickly achieved infamy as the worst in the school, coming to a head in Year 10 when two boys, including the son of a councillor, were expelled for smoking weed on the school buses, the first permanent exclusions the school had seen in eight years. This resulted in a stern talking to or so about the dangers of drugs etc etc.

Not long after, one of the more chavvy lads, not being the brightest of sparks, decided to skin up on a school trip. He was caught by the teachers, and following the precedent set with the other two boys was swiftly expelled. What followed shortly after results in the single most bizarre experience of my education.

The-then head of middle school Mrs Underhill or "Thunderkill" as she was known, who soon after went on to become the headteacher, was an interesting character. Part-Scouse, part-Sicilian, she was fond of informing us how she had dragged herself up out of a paper bag in order to become the furher of our great Empire. An emergency assembly was called solely for our year group in the smaller hall normally reserved for lower school. On the stage lay two props- an A-frame ladder, and a teddy bear. Mrs Underhill picked up the teddy bear and said in that soft but terrifying voice some teachers have perfected that you know will erupt at any second: “This is Edward bear. He is trying to get to the top of the stairs but every time he gets near the top, he falls: BUMP BUMP BUMP!” She mimed the poor teddy walking up the ladder, then literally smashed the shit out of its head bumping it on every step on the way downwards. “He tries and tries, but no matter how hard he tries he just can’t make it: BUMP BUMP BUMP!” This process was repeated several times, each time with the “bumps” becoming more and more aggressive. “Why am I doing this?” she eventually barked, as if the link to the surreal teddy-bear related narrative was obvious, the eruption threatening at any moment, “Because every time I think this year group is turning a corner, you manage to mess up again! You are Edward bear!” We sat in stunned silence. “Now we all know what a shamaleen is.” We sat there, baffled, as every kid in the room turned to the person next to them with a confused expression on their face as if to say “I don’t know what a shamaleen is…..what the fuck’s a shamaleen??” Eventually the penny dropped for some of us…..in her Scouscilian accent she was trying to say “chameleon.” She glared at us “Every single one of you is a shamaleen……because you knew. You knew this was going on” (too bloody right we knew, half the year group was at it! One form had even purchased a communal bong!) “And none of you said anything because” (and here came the explosion) “YOU WERE TOO SCARED TO DOB YOUR MATES IN.” Cue a tirade of genuinely terrifying crazed screaming in ever-excited Scouse tones for the next five minutes or so, before the assembly was wrapped up with a heart-warming triumphant climb to the top of the ladder by Edward bear accompanied by a few words regarding how, if Edward could make it to the top, so could we.

Not a teaching strategy I ever plan to repeat in my own career, I can tell you that now!


Quick edit: Now I remember, this woman was also responsible for another bizarre....if not downright dangerous....assembly. We had to stand up for assembly, and one time in the blazing July heat a pupil fainted, to be caught by their classmates. "After that interruption, I am going to start my assembly all over again," she said. A SECOND pupil fainted, for the scenario to start again....the whole assembly restarted yet again. It was only when a third pupil fainted, a boy in my form, and all the pupils behind him parted like the Red Sea, ensuring that he loudly hit the deck on the parque floor, that the assembly was finally abandonded! xx
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 12:15, Reply)
"You realise of course that this means war?"
Year 12, Final year of school and the last year of having any sort of relationship with Rouse.

Rouse was our deputy headmaster. Often, unless you'd done something sufficiently bad you were disciplined by Rouse rather than the Head, who clearly had far more important things to be doing than telling teen-aged boys off for misbehaving. Rouse was a real stickler for order and regimen - I don't imagine in the 30 odd years of his career did he ever NOT turn up at precisely 0600 every school day and park his Morris Mini in exactly the same spot. Here is a related roasted pea about him.
So there we were - a band of poor, misguided, misbegotten souls who seemed to pass each other by the wayside out the front of Rouses office on a fairly regular rotation.
Rouse, being a sound disciplinarian would sigh, refer back to whatever misdeed we had been accused of, occasionally question us about the veracity of some details and or level of guilt and then frequently wearily dole out whatever punishment seemed best suited at the time. Which usually entailed a weeks worth of after school detention or having to come and tidy/garden at the school on Saturday morning with the boarders.

Getting towards the business end of our final year, one day our little group found ourselves all in the same room meeting with Rouse. Now this was different - we all knew each other and had often had dealings that intersected with being sent to see Rouse together but never had we all been in the same place at the same time. Something was afoot.
Rouse began by thanking us for turning up & then started. He reminded us of some of the things that previous Yr.12's had done on "Leavers Day" in the years before us (Leavers Day being the final day of school for yr. 11 & 12's before exams began) - 1 year they had a sign made by one of the student's fathers real estate company - selling the school. Apparently the receptionist spent the day fielding many genuine inquiries. Another year had a Teachers vs. Students Softball game with the neighbouring girls school which culminated in one of our number being suspended for getting caught have carnal relations with a student teacher on prac. from the the girls school.

With this scene set Rouse made it clear to us that there were to be NO shenanigans whatsoever this year by our merry band & anyone found to be contravening this dictate faced very serious consequences. The least of which might be not being allowed to sit our exams (one would have thought that they might have the fore-thought to do Leavers Day after the exams maybe...). To us of course this was a direct challenge. How could we perform much needed hi-jinxs whilst not running the gamut of having to finish our matriculation at [bleaugh] a public school?
Then it came to us - there was always a big assembly for Leavers Day, in the school chapel, which had some very broad low steps, uphill from the teachers carpark, we numbered 12 of us, Rouses car weighed about 1000kg. and we had access to lots of webbing, and a couple of heavy-duty hoists from the manual arts dept.

Thus it came to be - we had a decoy setup so when Rouse turned up at 0600 (on the dot) he was busy for a good hour or so before school dealing with some lost but urgent paperwork and a couple of blokes that got "caught" smoking (punishment was going for a run with the headmaster for a week - meh.). Which gave us more than enough time to use the hoists and several lengths of 100mm webbing to trundle his car up to the chapel entrance and then manually lift it onto the topmost chapel step. All without being seen. Once everything was back in it place we all showered and got into our blazers ready just in time for 0830 when us and the rest of the school arrived for chapel to find Rouse and the headmaster raving and fuming at this small car sitting neatly in between the 2 front doors of the chapel.



Assembly that morning did not go as I think anyone had planned it.
Apparently they did eventually find some students willing enough to assist the school gardeners to lower the small vehicle back down to the roadway where Rouse could then noisily drive off after assembly and take half a days stress leave.

Some looks were cast our respective ways but seeing how we had all been catching buses and trains to school (with our tickets purchased as proof!) there was no way of proving who had done it.
What a lively bunch of japesters were we!

EDIT: For the crayon-munchers, tl;dr - we played a prank on the teacher that most often told us off by moving his car to a place where he could not simply drive it away.
(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 2:50, 6 replies)
lol I'm doing a poo

(, Sat 15 Jun 2013, 1:52, 5 replies)
Carrots for tea... ROFLMFAOPMSLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, yes, in l'esprit de l'escalier I forgot a retort to "That band you like are wankers!" -- it was, wait for it, "I know, I'm listening to Listen Like Thieves.".
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 22:14, 1 reply)
Flying Trophies
It all started when Martin dropped a pencil case down between the staircase windows onto the double door side entry chamber. The stairs ran above the chamber onto the main balcony which housed the headmasters office etc. We thought of climbing up onto the roof of the internal chamber to reach said article. But as Martin looked across from the balcony he said "Hold this", handed over a bag and jumped onto the school trophy cabinet (situated high up on the wall between the balcony & chamber) and with a run and another spirited jump landed onto the side entrance chamber roof to regain the item. Not wanting to miss a trick and agape at the stunt he had already pulled I told my friends to do as I did. Martin by now was instructing on how we should grab him once he had leapt off the trophy cabinet toward the balcony. Onto the cabinet he jumped - "creak" went the cabinet and he readied for the next jump to rejoin us. With that I started swearing at Martin telling him to fuck-off and shook my fist at him, so did my friends leaving him in no doubt he was not to return that way
Another "creak" eminated from the over stressed cabinet and with a yawn it parted company from the wall. Martin was hurled to the ground, a drop of 12 feet and the cabinet crashed to the floor with a dreadful din of splintered wood, broken glass and rattling silverware. He lay there until we yelled for him to run for it and with a limp and badly ripped trousers he did and we escaped the scene. Weekly assembly arrived and still not apprehended we entered to find the headmaster going about the topic with such anger and promise of retribution that we were glad not to be sitting together or mirth would have overcome us. The sports instructors gave the class some odd looks as well due to the larger trophies being quite out of shape because of the violence.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 20:35, Reply)
Unconscious Co-operation
There was a particular physics teacher at my school. When explaining something he had a habit of inhaling, then exhaling audibly at the end of a sentence. The effect was something like: ehhhhhh, ahhhhhh. One morning in assembly he heard someone, among us rowdy lower 6th, gibbering or laughing. He walked along the row from whence he thought the noise was coming. As he passed up the line his progress was marked by a growing inhalation which stopped when he reached the end. It was followed as he moved back to his place at the side of the hall by a decaying ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. This was a totally spontaneous happening with no co-ordinator or preplanning. I don't think we even got the usual bollocking about respect for "The Lord". The incident was totally ignored by the powers that were.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 20:28, Reply)
A hoary tale of ad-libs and low blood pressure.
My primary school didn't have the budget for proper songbooks, so we were limited to songs the teachers knew and had sheet music for. The words were shown on an overhead projector, when it wasn't broken.

The songs they knew turned out to be a very eclectic mix from hymns ancient and modern, to 60s pop hits, to folk songs and what I later found out were sea shanties.

One of them was about plants and fruits growing in a garden (and it did seem to be purely about gardening; if there was any religious subtext it was very subtle.) It had an upbeat, jazzy chorus which we really enjoyed singing. So much so that we routinely added hi-hat sounds and vocal interjections:

      The apples are ripe (tch-TCH!)
      The plums are red (tch-TCH!)
      Broad beans are sleeping in a blankety bed (Woo!)

This continued until one assembly when the deputy head gave us a solid 10-minute bollocking about our ad-libbed sound effects, saying that it undermined authority or some other bab like that. Looking back, it was all a bit daft and petty. I think he'd racked his brains to find a weighty subject to talk about that week and had drawn a blank.

And in any case, despite the lecture we still carried on doing it afterwards. So much for his authority.

Later assemblies were not as interesting, as my only memory of them was getting terrible pins and needles from being sat on the floor, feeling entirely numb from the knees down for a few minutes afterwards, and thinking "well, that was a complete waste of time".
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 19:51, 16 replies)
That great John Bunyan hymn, "To be a pilgrim"
The headmaster would stop us at the end of every verse.

"WHO SANG 'PILCHARD'?"

And then we'd do it on the next verse. And again. Every week, when most sensible schools would have quietly removed it from the hymn rota.

Apols if this is a bit like "This one time, at band camp..."
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 18:59, 7 replies)
Respect
When in the 4th year of secondary school, my headmaster was outed as a cross dresser by one of the national newspapers. After the scandal, he went away for a few months only to return after Easter. By then everyone had more or less forgotten about it and there was no prior notice that he was coming back (he was still a he at this point). On the day of his return we walked down to the assembly hall as usual and as we got closer we could hear Aretha Franklin's song Respect blasting out at full volume over the top of the sound of 500 teenagers sniggering. We took our places, I sat next to Daz who was one of the quietest people in the school. After a few minutes the headmaster managed to get everyone to settle down and stop giggling. He switched off the music (which had been the same song playing on a loop) and turned on the overhead projector. He said "The Rs" and wrote down 1.Reading, 2.Writing and 3.Arithmetic. "Today we are going to add a fourth R" as the music quietly started again, "Can anybody tell me what it is?" There were a few moments of almost silence when quiet Daz shouted "RANSVESTITE!". The entire room burst into laughter - including the teachers, most of whom had to cover their faces and leave so that they weren't seen to be laughing. The headmaster was unable to stop everyone laughing and had no backup as there were only a couple of teachers left in the room, so we all get sent back to our form rooms. For anyone interested, the headmaster did become a headmistress.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 18:14, 5 replies)
Three spring to mind (sorry for long post)
1 The way my primary school worked was that everyone sat on the floor apart from year 6, who got to sit on benches (lucky sods). Unfortunately that meant the rest of us were so tightly packed that you couldn't really adjust your seating position once you'd sat down. Cue year 5 me realising just as I was due to get up to leave the hall at the end of assembly that I had developed a rather bad case of pins and needles in one of my legs, causing me to trip over and practically land in the lap of the boy I'd fancied for about 3 years. However, this pales in comparison compared to what came next-a year 6 girl who was in my violin class was convinced that the best way of curing the pins and needles was giving me the heimlich manoeuvre. Just outside the doors to the hall. As the rest of the school filed past.

2) Fast forward to year 7, where my new school gives our year the task of putting together a few sketches on "fairness" to make an assembly. My friends and I devise a sketch resembling a G8 summit of sorts, where representatives of a 3rd world country were deemed irrelevant, but Camilla Parker Bowles was given enough money for a new dress. I was Vladimir Putin. Curtain up on President Bush dancing on a table with Tony Blair to Touch My Fire by Javine.

3) In my secondary school the headmistress stood on the stage behind a table with the stage curtains closed behind her. On one fateful Muck-Up Day, the then year 13s hid behind the curtain and, during hymns, stuck cardboard cutouts on sticks of the headmistress's face out from the sides of the curtains and waved them about. After about 20 seconds the head stopped the hymn and shouted at them to come out from behind the curtain, at which point they all rather sheepishly trooped off the stage. We weren't allowed a muck-up day after that year.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 18:06, Reply)
To Be Fair........
...........most of my assemblies were as boring as hell. Fridays were the worst, because I had to give out badges & certificates as well as bore the little brats.

Most Friday afternoons the boredom would be alleviated by the sound of a four year old's head hitting the floor with a loud crunch after they'd fallen asleep & toppled over.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 18:03, Reply)
Sudden wind
Our headmaster at juniors had the irreverend idea of rearranging the sitting order, with 4th year seated and 3rd & 2nd sat cross-legged on the floor. All was going well until a 3rd year did a simply huge fart - we 4th years were momentarily silent such was the noise.
"Who was that?"..... silence
"WHO WAS IT?!"..... "Me Sir"
With that he was told to stand up and was bawled out with the final almost unbelievable sentence "Don't you laugh boy"
He sat down and yes, began to laugh. The head ordered him out and with a deft swipe of his hand almost knocked him off his feet on his way to the office. Seeing as he hadn't told us not to, we began to laugh.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 15:17, Reply)
Gracie Fields turns in her grave
It was 1979, and national treasure, Gracie Fields, had just died. (Look her up if you're too young.) Oop north (where this happened) she was even more revered.

The head of the sixth form thought that the sixth-formers should be allowed to devise their own assemblies, with a "moral message". This particular class's teacher had (unwisely) let them get on with it.

The hall was darkened. The strains of the funeral march began, and four 17-year-olds solemnly marched through the hall to the stage, bearing a cardboard coffin which they placed upright onto a rocking chair.

The music segued into Gracie's greatest hit, "Sally In Our Alley". We're all sitting in the audience thinking, "Shit, this could go very very wrong..." We had no idea.

From the wings leapt a manic Keith Ballard, the sixth form's most, ahem, flamboyant student, dressed in basque and stockings, a la Frank N Furter, and wielding a whip. "You bitch, Gracie!" he screamed at the coffin, and began to flail at it wildly with the whip. "You total bitch!"

It got no further. The sixth form principal leapt on the stage crying , "Stop this at once!" He lined up the miscreants and demanded an explanation. "Exactly what sort of moral message. or thoughtful insight was this supposed to convey?" Even Ballard could not talk his way out of this one, and mumbled "Dunno sir," with the rest of them.

Assembly ended early. Easily the most memorable I ever attended.

Postscript: Keith Ballard went on to the National Youth Theatre, but died tragically young.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 15:04, 7 replies)
Fire Kills.
During one school assembly we had a talk from a local fireman and a fire safety elephant, I believe it was called "Wellyphant".
I'm not sure if it was a reginal creation or what, but basically it was a bi-pedal elephant in a firemans hat and a pair of wellys.

Anyway, we were all being drilled by the fireman (ooh er) on the perils of playing with matches when Wellyphant keeled over. No idea why.

So there we go. Don't play with matches and may that be a lesson to you all.
(, Fri 14 Jun 2013, 15:03, 4 replies)

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