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The Exercise

Page 2

Eva White

I’d still like to play with them but I’m too scared to go near them, especially when they’re all together. Sometimes I stay inside because I know they’re right outside the house. My brother is often mean but that time he was the meanest. He’s my older brother and he doesn’t want to have me around. He’s got more friends than me and they’re a lot bigger than me.”  

Mr Brent didn’t ask anyone to read out their work as he sometimes did. He gathered up the notebooks and returned them the following day with his comments. ‘Good work, Paul’, he wrote.

Paul became a teacher. The first school he was sent to was in a rough part of the city. He found it harder being a teacher than he’d imagined. He was constantly searching for new ways to keep the students interested and busy. At college he’d often been told that the first year was the hardest. After a while you collect a stock of materials to use, you develop strategies for class control, you learn not to take worries home. Paul looked forward to this time. In the meantime he struggled to think up new ideas to use in class.

Half way through the school year he was getting on well with most of the students. They’d stopped testing him, and he was managing to be strict and still have some relaxed times. Paul remembered Mr Brent’s exercise on fear. He didn’t have a gun at home, but he had a knife which he could use for the writing exercise. It was a knife with a heavy wooden handle and a sharp blade. He could hold it up briefly, lay it on the front table, tell his students to feel the fear and write about it.

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