Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Barbarians at the cakes

Yesterday was a little bit of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina mixed in with Lord of the Flies. My class competed with other classes at the school to see who could do the best job at decorating a cake. Our idea worked out well until I turned my back for a second to talk to a co-worker, in which time the clock we were making became a bear, then a crown, then a birthday cake with a single candle and then, was salvaged, as a work of modern art. I say modern art because the debris and the cream on the cake roughly resembled a crowded, snowcapped metropolis. But it could have just as easily been a sprinkle donut with a chocolate stick in the centre.

As destruction rained down, the chopsticks we were using to decorate were broken and then swept away with the trash. After we received our last-place award, we were allowed to eat the cake, but there was nothing to eat it with. So, I had the task of keeping angry, resentful kids from eating the very cake they had spent the better part of fifteen minutes poking with chunks of pineapple and chocolate. In the end, reinforcements arrived in the form of paper cups sliced in half to form troughs.

Needless to say, when we repeated the contest today for the second set of classes, I came prepared with a plan and an iron fist. After all, the good teacher is really a benevolent dictator. I sucked the fun out of the activity, barking orders over the din and smacking wayward hands that tried to eat the decorative chocolate prematurely. The end result was a second-place finish and a dozen happy kids that tried to shovel cake in my mouth with chopsticks.

Korea, like the other Asian Tigers, is a good example of what a benevolent dictator can do. Korea's development was kicked off by dictator Park Chung-hee in the '60s, similar to Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew, Taiwan with Chiang Kai-Shek and Hong Kong under British rule. Korea's Park (also discussed in the previous post) is the one most relevant to teachers, however, because he was killed by one of his own men for being too bossy. As important as results are to the exercise of power, the exercise of power is often just as desirable as the results themselves, an important lesson for out-of-control teacher-sovereigns.


Shan said...


sasha said...

lol @shan's comment.

pics of the loser cake or it didn't happen!!!

also, you never turn your back to talk for a "moment." you let those kids fend for themselves out there.