the book

As I’ve already explained in a previous post, as a British citizen, it is weird for me to see a saluting the flag ceremony conducted in a school. So that in itself is something foreign for me to witness; to line up with my students and watch them go through the motions. Whenever it happens I still feel slightly out of place because I really don’t know what I am supposed to do.

So imagine the first time I saw this. Once they finished singing their various songs, the head of the school stepped up to the microphone and began to talk about God knows what. It was all in Spanish and I didn’t have a clue about what he was saying, apart from recognising the obvious “Good morning” at the start of his speech. So I zoned out a little, until I saw a book being thrown to the ground by a boy.

I quickly snapped out of my reverie. ‘What the….?’ I tried to ask myself as my mind attempted to process what was happening. The boy began to stamp on the book to his heart’s content; he was clearly very excited about being given the opportunity to do so.

Then the head of the school took the book and started to talk to the boy. I thought he was going to tell him off. Instead, the head teacher demonstrated what he wanted the boy to do with it. He began to tear it apart. He gave the book back to the boy, and then the boy finished the job, with pleasure. The head clearly received the attention that he wanted from everyone.

‘What the hell is going on?’ I thought to myself. I looked around, and I seemed to be the only one disturbed by what was unfolding right in front of me. I had never imagined that I would witness something like this; this was only something I read and heard about in my history classes, but to a lesser extent, of course.

My facial expression must have expressed the shock that I was feeling, because immediately afterwards the coordinator came up to me and proceeded to explain what had just happened.

“It was just a book we found in the library that shouldn’t have been there. We were telling the students that not all books are good. Just because it is a book, it doesn’t mean that you have to read it,” she said, or something to that effect.

“What was the book about and who was the author?” I asked.

She told me that “some crazy person” wrote it, and that it was some sort of communist or socialist book…