Mohamed Saïd Raïhani’s Website
(A Short Story)
Event: The Inspector's imminent visit.
Characters : School-master X and those (un-)interested .
Time : the running school-year.
Place : A
village school and the surroundings.
Master X :
I will play all my cards to win this bet. I am getting ready a more suitable atmosphere in my class. Controlling pupils is essential. Their huge number is a real problem but the state of adolescence which most of them have reached is a much more serious one. Outside School, however, my relationships are peaceful with the pupils’ parents, my fellow-teachers and the new school administration.
The headmaster :
Your hands are shivering, sir. You do not seem to be comfortable with the inspector’s imminent visit. Yet, you need professional marks which may reconcile you with the administration and prove your competence after all these years of warnings, disciplinary measures and arbitrary transportations from isolated zones of work to newer ones... Personally, I will stand by your side, as a new head-master, to help you out of your trouble. Failure is not a law. Failure is a chance to revise one's work means and evaluate one's results. So, get ready. Accomplished documents. Good look. Correction of copy-books. Class control.... Control your class-room better. Your pupils are adolescent and numerous. Smoothness with them is not in your favour, you will have inspection very soon: your life-time chance....
Class pupils :
-Our school-master has changed a lot!
-Why has he?
-I haven’t the slightest idea!
-I can on longer stand going to school.
-Courses have turned nothing but insults and rebukes!
-The slightest movement during the course provokes him.
-I spend all the time stuck on my chair, paying great attention in all my looks and movements to avoid being exposed to violent reaction from his part!
Pupil’s parents :
-This school has grown a detention centre for our children...
-Our kids started to desert it because of this school-master’s unjustified brutality....
-This cannot go on...
-We have to act, as parents...
-We have to organize ourselves, first.
What is turning around in those people’s mind? Why are they crowding so around my administration? They never have been so excited! Whenever I used to invite them to attend the pupil’s parents association gatherings, they would hide away in their homes. Some of them would even run away for fear of assuming responsibility. Today, all of them insist on the necessity of renewing the association secretariat without the least delay...
Master X’s wife :
I do not know how my husband lives all alone in that far-away isolated village, during his work-days. He is getting more and more silent. He has developed a newer habit of taking refuge in silence more than he did in talking. I know nothing about his trouble except what I can imagine. Sometimes, I doubt in the credibility of what I developed about him as images and feelings and I feel far, far from him....
I cannot stand watching him burning in silence....
Master X :
I feel as if I no longer know what I want. That is why
I cannot find what to say. Silence suits me better. Sometimes when I look back
at my life, my life scares me: I have always been drawn along like an old
plough. Some other times, I imagine myself an egg rolling in all directions. I
imagine myself a big egg and I feel stifled under my crust.
Master X :
I have never been as strangled in my dreams as I was yesterday. I had a strange dream: Nobody sees me. Invisible. Men and children look through me. As if I was a piece of glass. As if I was nothing. My fellow-teachers walk by without noticing me. I call out to them. They turn back. They look through me at things far behind me. They examine it before pulling each other by the sleeve. They go away. Nobody see me. And I felt merciless loneliness. Wild isolation. Infinite seclusion...
Master X’s wife :
He does not utter a word. He does not talk about his trouble. Sometimes, when he no longer can bear his own silence, he stands up as a frightful monster...... and I feel fear. I melt down from fear when he is possessed by those fits. He breaks dishes, kicks furniture and throws shoes and sandals at his own photographs nailed to the wall.... When he gets tired, he collapses down on the floor. Unbearable! Life with him is pure breaking. My turn is definitely in the way. I have to apply for divorce.
One of the fellow-teachers:
I cannot bear seeing him so shattered. He paces in all directions and withdraws from them all. His behaviour with his pupils turned out against him. Most of the pupils left school. A quitting pupil informed me that Master X visits, personally, those who gave up school in their own homes and tries to convince them to return to school, to save the schooling rate until after the inspector’s visit....
Master X :
The calendar gets rid of its numbers in such a strange speed. Only a few days separate me from the inspector’s visit. The class is well-controlled. Regularity rate: one hundred per cent. In case the inspector attends the “guided reading” period, I will present a text outside the school programme. Pupils’ response to a non-academic text may help the inspector shape a correct idea about the pupils’ school-level….
Class pupils :
-The inspector will pay us a visit, soon.
-Who told you?
-What do we have to do with inspectors?
-We have to be à la hauteur…
-And if we weren’t?
-Our school-master will be angry.
-He is always angry!
In accordance to the current procedures on the issue herewith
And in accordance with Acts 329 and 36 from the Civil Code,
Order to summon Mr. X to attend the public session which will take place on d-day, m-month, y-year at the court of law in order to examine the issue indicated herein.
We, pupils’ parents, lay before your Excellency’s hands this complaint against the person of Master X, who overstepped his pedagogic limits by allowing himself humiliating pupils and clubbing them so violently. That is the reason why our children definitely quit school.
By writing to you on this point, we expect from you to take the appropriate measures.
Accept, Dear Sir, our real confidence in your decisions.
Inspection report :
Mr. X has chosen, from outside the school programme, a text that he typed on sheets of paper for pupils although the beginning of any school year requires commitment to the texts in the official programme.
Mr. X chose as a title to this text:
“Let us communicate better!”
This text is neither pre-programmed in the monthly repartition nor compatible with this week’s pedagogic unity.
Mr. X was so obviously nervous during the course leaving a negative impact on the pupils who were obliged to read the text when no-one raises his hand to do it.
Mr. X achieved none of the objectives outlined for the course. I invite him to rationalize his work by specifying the operational objectives and surrendering to the power and methodology of the school programme.
On the relational level, Mr. X is at odds with the pupils’ parents. I invite him to dialogue with them.
In case of following the recommendations he is given, Mr. X will surely develop his work style and double his work results.
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