Close
Close

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?

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences