The Most Inventive “Stories” I Have Heard

a.)    Homework

For many years I taught a Y8 Maths Set. During that time it was a rare occasion for homework not to be handed to my desk before morning registration.

The child in this short tale was Michael and one morning he trudged into my maths set looking extremely glum. By then I knew his book was missing and so I asked him about it. In front of a classroom full of youngsters, all straining their ears, he started on his tale of woe. This is what he said.

“Oh sir, I always get up early and do my homework then. I don’t like to do it straight away in the evening because it’s still fresh in my mind from the lesson. It’s more of a challenge when I do it the next day”
“But then things happened this morning. I heard Mum shout to get me up but then about a minute later, as I was getting dressed, I heard her scream. I ran down the stairs and in the middle of the kitchen floor was the biggest spider I have ever seen. It was like one of those tarantula things you see on telly. My Mum asked if I would get it because I’m not scared of spiders but this time I had to say I wouldn’t do it. While we were talking it just stood there and if it did move it was really slow, as if it wasn’t scared of anything in the whole world.”
“My Mum went to the cupboard and got out her hoover. She plugged it in and with a bit of fight the spider (with those really long legs) was finally sucked up inside. Mum then asked me to put my ear to the hoover to see if I could hear it moving inside and I could!”
“Mum said she couldn’t have anything like that in the house, so she turned on one of the gas rings and put the hoover on top to suck up all the gas. She said that would poison it. Well, it seemed to go on for ages and every time Mum stopped I would listen and it was still wriggling. I don’t know how it managed to survive because by then both Mum and I were coughing from the gas fumes.”
“Just then Mum looked at the clock and told me I had to finish dressing and go to school, so I went back upstairs. After about 2 minutes there was a horrible explosion. I ran down and Mum was lying on the kitchen floor and for a moment I was really worried but then she started moving. I ran into the other room and phoned 999. The kitchen is ruined too.”
The ambulance arrived really quickly but Mum wouldn’t let me go with her and told me to come to school. As they closed the ambulance doors, I heard the man say to her that you should never turn on a light when there is gas in the room. So now I still don’t know how she is.”

I looked at his desperately miserable face told him to sit down. I then knocked on the next classroom door and asked the teacher to keep an eye on my class for 5 minutes.
I walked straight to my room, got on the computer and within a minute was ringing his house. The phone was answered and the conversation went something like this,
Me: “Hello Mrs Jones, it’s Mr B here from school”.
Mum: “Oh hello, is there anything wrong?”
Me: “Well, can I ask if you have you just got back from the hospital?”
Mum: “No, why?”
Me: Long Explanation………………………..
Mum, “The lying little toad. Well, you can tell him that whatever punishment he gets from you, it’ll be far worse when he gets home.”
Me: “Thank you. I’ll go and break the bad news. Bye.”

I returned to the class. There was a silence. They obviously knew what I had been up to. I then confirmed to Michael that I had been speaking to his Mum. His face went ashen. I thought he was going to faint. I then explained that he had just told me the best excuse (lie) for not doing homework I had ever heard and so I would let him off. Amidst cries of dismay from the rest of the class, his face visibly brightened. I then went on to tell him what his Mum had said and reminded him that I had taught his Mum and so knew her to be a very strong character indeed. The disappointment of the other pupils in the class dried up immediately amidst whispers. They knew his Mum too. I wasn’t sure whether his pending punishment from Mum or having all day to worry about it was worse.

All told, despite having listened to one big fat lie, I decided that matters had been settled in a just and fair way. I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion and he never tried it on again.


b.)    Worst Teacher (my favourite).

This is the best pupil “story” I have ever heard. It explains why our school was meant to have a ghost.

Many years ago, each morning our school would start when the bell rang and all the children would go and line up in their classes on the playground before being collected by a teacher.
It seems that the HT at the time was a particular brute of a man who had upset a lot of children and parents. Each morning, as the children lined up, he would stand and shout at them about something they had done. Usually it was for talking, incorrect uniform or not being in a straight line. It was a shame because each day the children would end up going to class feeling unhappy and everybody knows that is the one sure way to stop children learning anything. From the children’s point of view, one of the worst factors was that he had never been seen to smile. It must have been a very unhappy school.

The morning of this story was very warm and sunny but no different to all the others. There he stood, the most unpopular teacher you can imagine, screaming at the children across the playground about one thing or another, when a 9 year old girl appeared at the school gate. She was crying, her hair was dishevelled, her uniform was ragged and torn, she was covered in dirt and her face had cuts and bruises.
This HT caught sight of her out of the corner of his eye and bellowed all his rage towards her. “What are doing? You’re late! You know we don’t like children here who are late. Don’t think you’ll be just going to class. Oh no! You’ll be coming to see me and we’re going to have a little chat, except you won’t be saying anything.”
The little girl looked at him and hobbled across the playground carrying a torn school book bag and spoke in between sobbing, “A car just knocked me over and it didn’t even stop.”
“Oh a likely excuse”, came the reply, “Whatever will we hear next, a train crash perhaps? You know we don’t accept excuses. You get here on time and that’s that. If not, you pay the price”. He then carried on and on. He almost seemed to be enjoying himself.
Now, as this tirade of screaming at this unfortunate young girl continued, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what all the children were thinking. Rarely had a man been hated by so many individuals all at once. Everyone just wished he would do something like trip over and break his neck. Even the other teachers who were waiting to collect their classes could see this poor girl needed to be checked over by a doctor. However, they too were scared of this ex-army HT and his bullying ways and so nobody said anything.
At the very moment all this hatred was at its most focussed the strangest thing happened.
In a split second blur, with all the children watching, a brown rock flew through the air at great speed, struck the HT on the head and, following a sickening crunch, he immediately collapsed to the ground.
There was a stunned silence as everybody looked at each other, all asking the same questions, “Who threw that?” “Who is strong enough to throw a rock that hard and fast?”
You might think the first people to react would go straight to the unmoving man and see if he was alright. However, to their credit, the first three people to move were all teachers and all three went straight to the little girl. They completely ignored the HT.

Gradually the remaining teachers took the children inside as the deputy head, having looked at the limp body, went to call an ambulance and the police.
On arrival of the emergency services it was confirmed the victim had been killed.
After half an hour the police asked for all the children to line up in the same positions as before because something about the story did not make sense.
With all the children standing there, the inspector asked them if they had seen what had happened to the murder weapon. Quite simply, where was the rock?
Whilst everybody was sure it had flown off somewhere after hitting the HT, they had also been too gripped watching this hated man collapse to worry about the rock.
They then heard the inspector ask the teachers if anybody in the school had a bad stomach. Further, it would have to be bad enough for the child to have an “accident” on the playground.
The teachers all agreed there was nobody in that state.
The inspector then took them all to one side and asked, “Then how do you explain this?” and he pointed to what was obviously a lump of soft poo. Those who were close enough even got a whiff and made the appropriate, “Ugghhh” and “Ooohh” noises.
Just then the inspector looked up and started into the sky. The teachers followed his gaze. He was staring at an airliner many miles up, leaving a white trail across the sky. Each of the teachers knew that it was extremely cold up there (about -40C) and the white trail was steam that comes out of the back of a jet engine, which then instantly freezes into tiny particles of ice.

Gradually the teachers and the inspector started to look at each other as the truth gradually dawned on each of them in turn. Somebody had done “number twos” on a plane that high up, flushed the toilet and the contents had frozen solid on contact with the icy temperature outside. One rock hard lump had not broken up but rather had flown to the ground getting faster and faster until, at great speed, it had found its target right in front of the children. On landing it quickly melted in the warm summer sun.
It would not be fair for me to tell you what children and adults thought about this once they knew the truth but I’m sure you can guess.
In case you are interested the new HT was very popular!

Is there a moral? If you can’t find one, you must have “issues”.


c.)    Tomato Plant

Many years ago a 9 year old boy, we will call him Danny, joined our school. He seemed to have a constant runny nose, a cheerful disposition but had always run out of tissues by 9.30 in the morning. All we knew was that he was “under the doctor”.
He was with us for about 18 months before his family moved on. During that time his classteachers got used to putting tissues on his desk each morning although this did not always stop the odd “sleeve wipe”. I liked Danny. He always managed to be so positive.
About six months after he left, in September I think, I asked one of his old classmates if they knew anything about him. The reply was, “Don’t you know sir? He died at the end of last term.”
I was shocked and asked for details. To the best of my memory this is how it went.

You know how he was always sniffing and wiping his nose. Well his new teacher used to get very angry with him and shout a lot. One day he sat in class wiping his nose and there was a bit of green hanging down. After a while his teacher couldn’t stand it. She got a couple of tissues, pushed his head back and tried to pull the bit of green out but had to quickly stop because, with the very first touch, he screamed so loudly that all the classes around stopped working. I think he must have been in agony.
So he got sent to the office and his parents came and took him to the doctor but anybody who touched that bit of green caused him to scream like he was being tortured. He then got sent to hospital where they did all sorts of things like X-rays.
They discovered that, at some point, he had managed to breathe in a tomato seed and it had settled into the thick snot at the top of his nose and started to grow. You see sir it’s warm and wet up there. As it grew though it needed light so it grew down his nose. We’ve done all that stuff in science, dark and dry is no good at all for growing things.
The doctors said that bit of green was the start of the first leaf. Anybody could have pulled it out in one tug but the slightest touch made Danny scream the place own.
After a couple more days the doctors told his Mum and Dad that it was so painful because the roots had grown into his brain and it was all mixed up in there. They said there was nothing they could do. An operation wasn’t possible so all they could do was make him comfortable. They did ask his parents if they wanted the tomato plant leaves to be cut off so they were out of sight and his Mum and Dad decided to ask Danny.
I don’t know if they told him everything but Danny said he loved that tomato plant. By now two leaves and a bit of stalk were growing out of his nose so he could see them. Anyway, he made his parents promise they would never harm it and they agreed. Danny just insisted that he and the plant stayed together.
So day by day Danny got worse as the roots grew further into his brain and the doctors had to give him more and more drugs to keep their promise that he wouldn’t be in pain. That made Danny very dopey and eventually he was asleep all the time. Jimmy who is in 5S told his Mum and Dad and they said he turned into a vegetable growing a fruit but I think that’s wrong because our teacher said a tomato is a vegetable.
A couple of weeks later Danny passed away but the tomato plant was growing really well in the sunlight from the window.
Now his Mum and Dad had made a last promise to Danny not to harm that plant and so they arranged for him to be buried in a coffin with a hole in the top just above his nose. The tomato plant grew through that hole and his Mum and Dad even put a stick there to tie it up so it didn’t blow over. Each day they used to visit and eventually some tomatoes started to grow. Danny’s Mum picked them when they were small and green because she was scared somebody would take them and she wanted every single one. She then made something with them. Jimmy’s Mum says it would be called “Danny’s Green Chutney” and that it keeps for a long time but I don’t know about that stuff.
Anyway, I think you can go and visit the graveyard sir. I‘m not sure which one it is.” 

I thanked him and walked away marvelling at the details. At one point it had taken great determination not to burst out laughing. On the other hand my curiosity about Danny had now got the better of me. I went to the office and phoned the relevant school. They were good enough to put me straight through to their headteacher. She was very happy to tell me that, six weeks after arriving, Danny had finally been diagnosed with a type of wheat allergy. By careful alterations to his diet all symptoms had (quite literally) dried up. Danny was now a star, very popular and was even playing for the school football team.
I put the phone down and wondered how it would be possible for the school to harness the amazing imagination of playground gossip in order to get it onto paper. The kids would surely fly through any English Literature exams.