Two teachers wander through the playground at break time, chatting to each other about their classes.
‘I don’t know what to do,’ said teacher number one.
‘They don’t listen to anything I say. They pretend they’ve heard – they turn up to every class, look like they’re concentrating with their heads bowed, but once they get out it seems they forget everything I’ve taught them.’
‘I know what you mean,’ said teacher number two.
‘My lot are the same. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they read my books, and they listen to my teachings, but instead of taking the spirit of what I’m saying, they twist my words and use them against others who are not in their class.
‘I’m at my wits’ end. I didn’t get into this just to see my class beating up another class in the playground and using some sort of made-up version of what I’ve said as some sort of justification.’
Teacher one nodded, sagely.
‘Like you, I also tried to write down my teachings in a book.
‘I had hoped that by writing down my words there would be no way they could be misconstrued, but I was wrong.
‘But I’ve found it’s just one or two of the bigger boys who are the main culprits. The majority are fine.’
‘Well what are we going to do?’ asked teacher two.
‘How can we stop these people doing these things in our name, when that’s not what we want? How can we stop the violence between our children? Keeping them separate is not the answer, because they always spill out into the playground.
‘What can we do?’
The two teachers thought about this for a while, waiting for the bell to go for class to resume.
After much deliberation, they came to a conclusion.
They decided to mix up the classes, to teach them together, and to tell them their behaviour was unacceptable – that nothing could justify such violence on either side, certainly not the teachings of two men.
Now if only Islamic extremists and the English Defence League could be taken in hand just as much, perhaps the world would learn a lesson from Woolwich.