Thursday, 13 December 2007

School Daze

Just a short post this morning since I have to clear my mind for a presentation I'm giving to a bunch of 6th-formers at a nearby school. These are basically high-school seniors, 17- and 18-year-olds who I'm sure are like kids that age everywhere: happy to get out of whatever regularly-scheduled class they would be in and bored by the prospect of having to feign attention while some ancient hack talks to them about his job.
I'll probably start off with an anecdote about how I covered the Watergate break-in, then segue into the time I interviewed Pol Pot, and end with some gonzo stories about when I rode with the Hell's Angels. Oh, wait, that was Woodward & Bernstein, Nate Thayer and Hunter S. Thompson. Maybe I'll just talk about my boiler not working.

I'll figure something out. The key thing is not to show fear. Teenagers can smell it a mile away. And when they do, they pounce: sarcasm, snarkiness, smirks, deep sighing.... If only I was a genetically modified mouse. Did you see the story about the mouse created by a Japanese scientist that shows no fear of cats? The video is amazing.

8 comments:

Henry said...

Good luck! As I recall from the time Gussie Fink-Nottle presented the prizes at Market Snodsbury Grammar School, the most important thing is to not get drunk and insult the Headmaster. (But if you do, at least remember to refer to the "Head Teacher" not 'headmaster' or 'principal')

mark from alexandria said...

So what is wrong with Headmaster and Headmistress? Is it that gender differentiation is of itself seen as a continuation of stereotyping or inequality or do the terms "master" and "mistress" have class/colonial associations that make them unacceptable.

I've long wondered why certain gender identifying terms have remained acceptable and other have not.

Oh yeah, and good luck with the teens. Focus on Washington's best sex foibles from Wilbur "Tidal Basin" Mills, through Marion "G*d d*mn b*tch set me up" Barry, through Larry "Wide Stance" Craig.

suburbancorrespondent said...

And here I thought that tales of the Children's Hospital Fund Drive throughout the years would keep them glued to their seats. But mark from alexandria has a better idea.

Anonymous said...

As an undergrad, I once had dinner with an Oxford don who proceeded to ask what major I was going to pursue. "Journalism" I replied (following in my old man's footsteps).

"But that's a trade" he replied,"not an academic pursuit".

So be wary.

mary said...

"Watergate breakin?" Weren't you still in knickers then? [1972] Personaly, I'd like to hear more about your boiler breaking down!

Claire said...

Hi John. I'm one of the sixth form students you talked to on thursday! I'd just like to let you know how interesting your talk was and to thank you for giving up your time! Claire

Anonymous said...

YOU BROTHER SAID...
Claire is obviously a plant. I've known John for 42 years and in that time he’s neither been interesting or gracious with his time.... Okay, maybe just a little.

Anonymous said...

Dang it, I should have said "neither NOR!!!"