Three Rules For This Evening's Class
by Victor Gonzales
Student, the Lab School
 

 

Good evening. Welcome to "The Exhausted School" ...Tonight we hope to teach you something about school... and something about education... They are not the same things... People who make a living from the school business would like to think that they are... but they are not... Benjamin Franklin was an educated man, but he hardly saw the inside of a school, and Thomas Jefferson never did... an education gives you the power to make your own decisions and a schooling teaches you to follow the lead of other people - not the same thing at all.

Since I've had a lot of experience with schools! I feel pretty comfortable warning you about your behavior while we're together... We'll get along just fine if you follow a few simple rules I have to follow myself every day...

The first rule is... don't go to the toilet without asking my permission... I've arranged for the guards to lock the doors so you can't get in without a written pass...

The second rule is... no water... You can't have any water while the show is going on... If you get thirsty that's too bad -- you should have thought of that before you sat down... If you're caught out of your seat going for water, I'll send for your mother...

The third rule is... I'll ring a loud BELL every forty minutes... When you hear it, drop whatever you're doing and move to another row... you have exactly three minutes to do this... don't be late... we'll take attendance in the new rows... and two latenesses equal one absence!... I don't want to humiliate any of you but I will if I have to...

We'll have a multiple choice test at Intermission... Be sure to use a Number 2 pencil... bubble in your answers carefully... if you open your test booklet before I tell you to, your paper will be torn to pieces in front of your eyes...

At this point I'm going to turn you over to the New York State Teacher of the Year to try to convince you that there really is a better way to learn. He's from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he was my own eighth grade teacher long, long ago... last June... He hates schooling... but he loves education... Ladies and gentlemen... my friend and my teacher... John Taylor Gatto...