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Saturday, 18 September 2010

Atavistic Behaviour

Richard [of RBB] and Second both mention the severe thunderstorm we had on Friday.  The weather gurus had been promising that this huge storm would hit the southern NI, and many of the students had been talking about it.
I was teaching a senior year 13 class when the storm broke.  A few preparatory rumbles (just like the sound I make when I'm clearing my throat before I speak in public), heavy rain starting to fall, then the first flash, followed by the thunder after only a few seconds.
The students were acting like juniors, jokes about the "Gods are angry", "hide under the desks" and "We're all going to get electrocuted, can we switch the computers off?"

Just as I finished saying to them "It's not angry Gods you lot have to worry about, it's an angry Mistah if you don't get back to work" and "Nothing's going to happen to the computers" when the next flash of lightning illuminated the room (we have high windows) and the thunder followed almost immediately, and it was really loud, the whole room shook from the reverberations.  "Don't worry" I started to say, then the lights went out, the computers went dead, and the kids looked scared and excited.
Outside the rain began to really make an effort to catch up with the magnificence of the lightning display.  It was streaming down with such force, that it was bouncing of the concrete yard, and the rebounding rain was as high as the roof.  Weird sight.  Then we couldn't even see that as the rain re-doubled and everything outside the windows went blurry.
A wolf-like howl, originating from somewhere in the maths department could be heard over the sound of the rain.  Screams and shouts could be heard from all around the school.  Two students went dashing past my door and straight out into the now torrential rain, screaming at the top of their voices.
Another flash illuminated the now dark room.  One or two of my senior students, were actually crouching down, ready to get under the benches.  The lights came back on, the computers started to re-boot, just as the next wave of thunder-sound beat at our ears.

The corridor lights stayed dark, the two kids came running back, soaked and dripping and no-longer screaming, merely shouting incomprehensible sounds.  As they ran they were thumping on doors and walls, and they knocked the fire alarm switch at the corridor end, starting a high pitched bleeping which added to the cacophony.
The rain began to ease, but hailstones were now making their appearance, rattling against the high windows.  Thunder was still rumbling, but moving away.  The wolf-howl ceased, and we could now hear that the shouting and screaming was dying away from all around the school.
"OK" I said to my class, "Try logging on now, and check that your files saved properly".  As most of them are finishing a long two term assessment project, they suddenly became more anxious about the state of their assessment files rather than the 'Wrath of the Gods".  Wrath of the NZQA for incomplete assessments became much more relevant.

I was reminded of a scene in a nature movie I had seen, where a family of chimps were caught in a thunderstorm.  They responded by screaming and shouting at the the sky, shaking their fists and thumping the ground.  Just like the kids really.

Odd that.


  1. I count myself lucky the biggest interruption I had was when you came in the room (joking). When the storm hit us I told them they weren't in Intermediate any more and to grow up. This worked, kind of, then I stopped reading them a story, and let them chat for the last 10 minutes while I ran around an told them what work they had to do.
    Sorry about disappearing spell 5, if it makes you feel better I sat in traffic for 2 hours after my drama meeting at Capital E, Wellington traffic sucks.
    I had to bite my tongue when one of the tech guys said he'd had a kid out from Wainuiomata who had never been into the city before, all the other teachers nodded condescendingly. I should of just said, yeah, well in Wainuiomata we stab people from the front.
    Don't worry Twisted that's a private reference for RBB.

  2. Maybe civilisation will reach Nuova Lazio soon.

  3. "Maybe civilisation will reach Nuova Lazio soon. "
    It has.
    We've got alcohol

  4. Alcohol is a natural part off the cosmos.
    TBG, I think Richard (of RBB) will like that quote about stabbing you in the front.

  5. I was inside a building in Jackson street when the storm hit. Walking back to work I was watching the rain and lightning , under cover, when I looked in to a women's eyes as she walked past, they were wide. Fear. It's amazing the impact of a simple storm!

  6. " when I looked in to a women's eyes as she walked past, they were wide. Fear."

    Are you sure it was the storm making the woman fear?
    Maybe she was frightened by the wild looking man staring at her?

    Could be a new name for a blog.
    Stalker Second
    Second Stalker

  7. Damn TSB
    I was just drafting a comment along the same lines as a response to Second's when I glanced down to yours. I agree.

  8. "Damn TSB
    I was just drafting a comment along the same lines as a response to Second's when I glanced down to yours. I agree. "

    Great minds think alike

  9. I feel all left out - I heard two rumbles of thunder over my year 10 class rehearsing but the whole thing went by without any comment or disruption - I don't think it was as bad in the city.


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