Laurie Taylor

March 16, 2001

Hard-up academics are being lured from the lecture hall to the classroom to help schools cope with teacher shortages - THES , March 9.

Good morning, class 3b. My name is Lapping. I am your new geography teacher. Now, of course, geography traditionally referred to the science of the surface of the earth but, in recent years, it has been increasingly concerned not with physical but with symbolic space. Yes, the boy in the second row with the mobile phone.

Can I go to the toilet, sir?

Of course. Now, let's begin by asking about your own sense of symbolic space. What about the girl in the back row with the nose studs. What is your name?


Good. Now, Madonna, tell me about your own sense of space, your sense of your lived world.

I don't know, sir. I was away last week.

Sir! Sir! Simpson's just farted.

Thank you. Well, let me put the question more simply. What I'm after is your sense of where you live, your sense of your home area, your neighbourhood. Yes, the girl in the fourth row.

We were doing rivers, sir. Before Miss left to have her baby we were doing rivers.

Rivers. And what were you doing about rivers?

All the rivers in England, sir, and where they went into the sea. Like, what rivers flow into the Wash.

The Wash?

Do you know the answer, sir?

The answer? Yes, of course I do. But you're not here to test my knowledge, I'm here to test yours. Now, let me see. Yes, the smart-looking boy with the glasses and the atlas in the third row. Can you name the rivers that flow into the Wash?

I suppose it depends, sir.

Depends on what?

On the sense in which you're using the word "river".

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns