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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)
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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)

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