Sunday, September 09, 2012

Pirates in the Classroom

            “This is what we will work on now, Mattie.  I want you to practice with your slate, and be sure to write your numbers with a clear hand.”
            “That’s right, sprat,” said Turnbull.  “If you’re dividing up the booty and your shipmates think you’re cheating or holding back you could find yourself on the wrong end of a blade.”
            Mattie’s eyes widened at the hidden dangers of multiplication, and Lydia hoped the twinge behind her own eye would not develop into a full blown headache.  When she’d contemplated being a governess she’d never considered pirates and their economic systems as part of her teaching methodology.   
            Turnbull and Nash were looking at her expectantly.
            “Gentlemen?”
            Nash snickered at that, but Turnbull said, “Do you have extra slates we could use, Miss Burke?  We could try our hands at the problems.”
            Lydia was about to beg off but she saw how Mattie’s face glowed at the idea of the pirates joining in her lessons.
            “To be honest,” she started, then paused to think. “Mr. Nash, Mr. Turnbull--you must understand that I do not teach unless I am compensated for my labors.”
            Nash looked at Turnbull, who said, “She wants her share.”
            “Well, that’s only right,” Nash nodded.  “So what do teachers get?  Jewels? Gold?  I’ve got a good Spanish dagger I’d be willing to trade for lessons.”
            “And I’ve got a mummified head from the Sandwich Islands.  You could have that, Miss Burke,” Turnbull said.
            “Take the head!  I’ve seen it and it’s disgusting!”  Mattie enthused.
            “It sounds disgusting, but thank you, no.  What I want, gentlemen, is for you to join us at a tea party to be held at a future date.”
            Nash looked at Turnbull, who said, “I reckon we’d have to drink tea.”
            “Thought so,” Nash said gloomily.  “But if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it.”
            He spat into his hand, then held it out to Lydia.
            “Shake on it, and it’s a bargain, Miss Burke.”

--[working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby, a work in progress

Need to work a little piratical excitement into your lesson plans? International Talk Like A Pirate Day  has a teacher's guide for the event. You bring pirates to your math lessons and numbers will never look boring again. Shrunken head for the teacher is optional, but it'll beat an apple for sheer impact.

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