John Yandell

John Yandell teaches at a comprehensive school in Tower Hamlets.

Diary: English Lessons

John Yandell, 19 June 1986

A classroom in a Merseyside school, 15 years ago; a warm autumn afternoon; 30 12-year-old boys in an English lesson, taken by a distant, severe, stooping man with, it is rumoured, a wooden leg. He is reading Great Expectations. Gradually the class loses its trepidation: drowsing in the sun-filled room, we allow our thoughts to wander from the text. And then the whole form shocked out of its somnolence by an explosion of rage: ‘HOLD YOUR NOISE!’ Shock gives way to guilt and fear: which one of us is the victim of this outburst?

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