Good morning, children.
Good morning, Miss Austen.
Picasso, no scribbling while I’m talking.
Picasso: Miss, my name is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso.
Miss Austen: Don’t be cheeky, young man. Picasso is good enough for you, not that anyone will remember you. Today you’re going to learn about the great men and women in history. Wordsworth, what do you want now? It’s rude to interrupt.
Wordsworth: But Miss, I’ve been inspired.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills.”
Miss Austen: You’ll be wandering out the door to the principal’s office if you don’t stop interrupting me. Now where was I?
Abraham Lincoln: Miss, talk about me. I’m going to be one of those great men in history. I’ll be president of the USA. “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
Miss Austen: Abraham Lincoln, your flights of fancy won’t get you far in life. Spouting nonsense like that will mean you’ll have to stay back another year. It’ll be special needs class for you.
Abraham Lincoln: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure?”
Miss Austen: Get out of my classroom now, Abraham. NOW! (Door slams) Now children, we…
Shakespeare: “How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”
Miss Austen: William Shakespeare, how dare you insult me. Get out! (Door slams) Picasso, sit down. Who told you you could scribble on the board? Oh mother of mercy. What have you done? Those women are naked. You dirty thing.
Picasso: Miss, it’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – the five prostitutes in a brothel in Barcelona. Aren’t they just divine?
Miss Austen: Get out of my classroom. Now!
Florence Nightingale: “To be ‘in charge’ is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself, but to see that everyone else does so too.” I don’t think you understand that, Miss.
Miss Austen: So can you do better? Can you control this bunch of untalented louts?
Florence Nightingale: I’ll stick to nursing – thanks all the same.
Leonardo da Vinci: Miss! Miss! I painted Mona Lisa.
Miss Austen: Leave the poor girl alone and get on with your drawing. Wipe that smile off her face. She looks deranged.
Leonardo da Vinci: I can draw flying machines too.
Miss Austen: Flying machines – whoever heard the like? And stop writing backwards. You’ll never get a job.
Virgil: Miss, “Fortune favours the bold”.
Miss Austen: Bold as you are, Virgil, no-one asked you for your opinion.
Virgil: “The descent into hell is easy.”
Miss Austen: And I’ll make it easier for you. Get out!
Gandhi put some clothes on. How any mother could let her child out dressed like that on a cold day is beyond me. The rest of you settle down and listen. We’ll have no more nonsense.
Amelia Earhart: Hey, Leo. Show me your flying machines. Wow! Pretty cool. I’m going to fly across the Atlantic ocean one day.
Miss Austen: Back to your seat, Amelia. You have as much chance of flying as I have of writing a book.
Amelia: .“Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.”
Miss Austen: Principal’s office now!
Missy Elliot: Hey Em, “Don’t let anyone steal ya joy! There’s always someone miserable trying to bring you down … you just wish them well & proceed on enjoying your life.”
Miss Austen: Who are you? You look too alive to be in this class.
Missy Elliot: “I put my thing down, flip it, and reverse it.”
(Miss Austen fans her face and sniffs the smelling salts.)
The school bell rings.
Muhammad Ali jumps up, strikes a boxing pose and prances on his toes. “I’m the champ!”
Miss Austen: Muhammad, this is not ballet class and tell your mother that red lurex shorts are not part of the school uniform. And you’re more of a chump than a champ. Dream on. What the dickens is wrong with you?
Charles Dickens: There’s nothing wrong with me, Miss.
Shakespeare: Excuse me, Miss. Don’t plagiarize my words, or I’ll set The Merry Wives of Windsor on you. They’re a right bunch of hoo-ha’s.
Miss Austen: There are no Merry Wives in Windsor or anywhere else. It’s a myth.
Shakespeare: You are prejudiced.
Miss Austen: Have you no pride that you speak to me so? OUT! OUT! OUT!
Maggie Thatcher: “If you want to cut your own throat, don’t come to me for a bandage.”
Florence Nightingale; I have a bandage, Miss.
Miss Austen: That’s a turban, not a bandage. Who’s head have you filched it from?
Florence Nightingale: Gandhi gave it to me. It’s the one he wore in South Africa. How cool is that?
Miss Austen: Well, let’s hope he doesn’t give you his loincloth.
Maggie Thatcher: You know Miss, “A bit of Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility would serve you well.”
Miss Austen: And a bit of humility would serve you well. You’re another one who won’t go far in life. I suggest you consider being a governess.
MaggieThatcher: “It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs.”
Miss Austen: You always want the last word, don’t you Maggie. Well here’s my last word to you. OUT! OUT! OUT!
Maggie Thatcher: Thank you, Miss. My time has come to ascend the steps of Downing Street and lead my people into the future. Henceforth, I’ll be known as the Iron Lady.
Miss Austen: Well, before you go, iron a few dresses for me. A bit of practice will be the making of you.
(Door opens and a young student comes in.
Miss, you’re wanted on the phone.
Who is it?
Tell him to ring back.
(LATER IN THE STAFF ROOM)
Miss Austen: Oh, I’m gasping for a cup of strong tea. That class will be the death of me. Franklin, how was your class today?
Franklin Roosevelt: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
Miss Austen: You can say that again, but I’m not sure if I can hang on for another day, never mind another year.
Aristotle: “It’s during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Rousseau: “There is a period in life when we go backwards as we advance.”
Miss Austen: Whoever came up with those stupid sayings didn’t know the kids in my class. They’re moving backwards not forward and not a glimmer of light in sight. Are you telling me these kids are advanced? Huh! You should try teaching them for a few hours. See what fancy quote you come up with then. Archimedes, you’re a mathematician. What do you think?
Archimedes: “Don’t disturb my circles.”
Miss Austen turns away.
You know what, I get more sense out of my cat.
Thomas Henry Huxley: “I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything.”
Miss Austen: Well, Huxley. You’re no philosopher so don’t let it worry you.
Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
Miss Austen: Nelson, get over yourself. All words and no action will not make you a president, not even of our PTA. Bertie, close that suitcase and concentrate.
Bertie Aherne: I’m counting my assets.
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That really really is brilliant Helena and needs to be published.Its just fantastic and unique.
Thank you Mary. Watch out for the school reunion of these pupils in a few weeks. I’m having fun messing around with history, but you never know.