PRINCIPAL: Sit down, please. (Pause, gathers thoughts) Youíve been teaching here for, what, a few years now?
TEACHER: Nearly five.
PRINCIPAL: Right, so you know by now the sorts of things we as a school expect of our staff and students.
TEACHER: Iíve never given any cause for complaint before this.
PRINCIPAL: No, thatís true. Youíve always been a model staff member up to this point, but Iím afraid this sort of incident is not one we can lightly pass by. (Picks up a letter) Perhaps I should go through the order of events as they were reported to me, and you can tell me how accurate you feel they are. ďIím writing to tell you that although I enjoyed helping on the Year 12 camp very much, there was one problem I should let you know about.Ē
TEACHER: (Scornfully) Is this one of the parents writing?
PRINCIPAL: (Icy) This is a letter from someone who gave up their time to voluntarily help you on a job you were paid to do. (Pause) Shall I go on? (TEACHER nods) ďOn the Thursday night, the last night of camp, once all the children had gone to bed, Mr Matthews, the other parent who was helping out, went with Mr/Mrs Andrews to the nearest town, leaving me at the campsite by myself.Ē
TEACHER: Thatís true, but it was because we wanted to buy some things
to make the last day of camp a really memorable celebration.
PRINCIPAL: I appreciate that when Ted Young pulled out of the camp at the last minute, leaving you as the only teacher there, it put you into a difficult position, but it was one that we all thought you were capable of dealing with. It did mean, however, that there was no way you could leave the children for a minute, let alone (consults letter) five hours! Was it really that long?
TEACHER: It would have been about that, but the kids were in bed and they all seemed to be asleep when we left.
PRINCIPAL: But they were not asleep, and took the opportunity provided by your absence to begin a battle between the two cabins that lasted most of those five hours. Several children returned home the next day with cuts and bruises that reflect very badly on our schoolís care of them. (TEACHER is silent. PRINCIPAL gets up and paces behind desk) Jim/Jane, this is a most serious blot on your otherwise flawless record. If the Board of Trustees were to hear of this, you could be in deep trouble. I, on the other hand, am inclined, in light of your more normal conduct, to give you a warning only, and say no more about it.
TEACHER: (Relieved) Thank you. It certainly wonít happen again.
PRINCIPAL: No, it wonít.
OHP: ďTen minutes later, in the teacherís office.Ē
(TEACHER is now behind desk and talking to two PUPILS, SHANANE and CODY.)
TEACHER: You two have been at this school for several years now, havenít you? (PUPILS nod) I canít hear you.
PUPILS: Yes, Mr/Mrs Andrews.
TEACHER: So you know by now the sorts of things we as a school expect of you.
PUPILS: Yes, Mr/Mrs Andrews.
TEACHER: Punctuality is one of the most important skills you will ever learn, you know. At this school weíll teach you all sorts of things in many different subjects, but if youíre not in the right place at the right time, none of them will be any good to you. Punctuality!
SHANANE: Please Mr/Mrs Andrews; neither of us has ever been late to class before.
CODY: We were on an errand for Mr Thompson that just took longer than we expected.
TEACHER: You were seen coming onto the school grounds five minutes after the bell had gone.
CODY: It wonít happen again, and it was only five minutes!
SHANANE: And we didnít miss anything because Mr Thompson waited for us before starting the class, and he didnít mind.
TEACHER: So you made the whole class wait for you? (Pause) Iím afraid this is not good enough. Being absent is being absent, no matter how long itís for. If I donít punish you for being five minutes late, pupils who are ten minutes late will complain. Both of you are on detention for the next two lunchtimes. Away you go now.
(As they leave)
CODY: Thatís not fair! How come we get a detention for being five minutes late? My brother says that when he was on sixth form camp last week, Mr/Mrs Andrews was away for hours one night.
CODY: He/she went into town with one of the parents.
SHANANE: He/sheís not supposed to do that! My dadís on the Board of Trustees Ė wait Ďtil he hears about that!
(Lights down, exit.)
© Greg Brook (Dunedin City Baptist) March 2001
All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. Our drama group can be contacted at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org