A Pedagogue Of The New School

excerpt 3. The Eve of the Exams Teacher: Now then, we're supposed to be starting tomorrow, aren't we just? Those of you who have diligently applied themselves to study will pass. The loutish clots who have neglected study must needs be left behind. Now let me instruct you as to how you should reach the heights a pupil endeavours to attain as concerns education based upon solid principles, that is to say your exemplary conduct vis-à-vis the audience present for the occasion. (To a pupil sitting at the back of the class) Do shut your mouth, stupid ox, before a fly finds its way therein… (The boys are laughing) Silentium! A pupil ought to engage in the pursuit of being neatly attired… Pupil Ionescu: Me Mom had a new suit of clothes sewn for me, Sir. Teacher: Hear, hear… yer Mom, how else? You didn't expect me to have them sewn for you, did you? (Laughter) Silentium, braying band of donkeys… principle-based education, furthermore, demands respect towards those of a mature age coupled with that humble appearance which is supposed to be the adornment of youth… now, if I catch any of you smirking or fidgeting, I'll straightway have that donkey's ears pulled to the proper length… though he be the son of an Archduke… Pupil Popescu: Sir, my Dad said I ought to tell him each time you're pulling our ears, for he means to bring the matter up with the Chamber. Teacher (in a soothing tone): Now, all that was not meant for you, of course. I do know you happen to be an excellent pupil… it was the other pigs I had in mind… now then, let us attempt to revise some of the subject matter… Popescu! (A firecracker followed in quick succession by two more, explode against the wall behind the teacher; startled, he jumps to his feet) Hoghi o fène èghemek! Who was the donkey-pig responsible for that? (The whole class is laughing) Who? We have to find out straightway who's in such blatant ignorance of respect. (He can hardly contain his rage) Several pupils: It was Popescu, Sir. Teacher: Popescu? Nonsense… Popescu is an excellent pupil. The pupils: But it was Popescu, Sir. Teacher: Whoever dares to do that again, just wait and see… Popescu… let's suppose someone asks you just how many arithmetical operations there are. How are you going to answer? Popescu: Three, Sir. Teacher: Not more? Popescu: Five. Teacher: What about less? Popescu: Two. Teacher: Truth to tell there are only two of them in principle, increase and decrease by the unit. It's only their differentiation in practice that causes them to be four: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Now then, that was quite good, go to your place now. Tell your father to honour us with his presence tomorrow. (Another firecracker) O fèkete kukio! Who was the donkey-pig this time? All: Popescu, Sir.

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by I. L. Caragiale (1852-1912)