Friday, December 22, 2006

Stolen time

Yesterday I had to teach four extra classes at one of my universities. This was not because I had missed any. I hadn't. It was because ... oh, never mind. It is a very silly and meaningless bit of bureaucratic rubbish that I can't be bothered explaining.

But basically, the teachers have to be there whether or not students come. I decided to use this as an opportunity for students who were lagging. I gave a test a couple of weeks ago, and told students if they failed they could use the extra class to take the same test again. Others need not come, I said. This meant that all the sensible students studied, and passed it the first time round and I only had a handful of chronically lazy or disorganized students showing up yesterday.

And in the first class of the day, I had no students turning up at all.

I stayed in the classroom for a while, as I am required to just in case somebody comes, and when nobody did, went back to the teachers' room and kidnapped the secretary.

"We're going to the river," I said. "There were lots of gulls there when I went past this morning."

She didn't seem to mind being kidnapped. We went to the school store first, and bought some bread. Then we walked down to the river. It was a beautiful day.

The gulls saw us coming, and when we started chucking bread, they were pretty quick to catch on. I got the feeling this was a fairly frequent occurrence in their lives.

A couple of them were willing to eat from our hands ...

But most seemed to prefer playing catch.

They were pretty good at it.

In fact they were so good at it we ran out of bread rather quickly.

After that we hung around enjoying the sunshine for a while, then went back to work. We were only at the river for about half an hour, but it was the highlight of our day.

Sometimes the stolen moments are the sweetest.


kenju said...

I have fed gulls twice, and both times it was from the balcony of a hotel room. The gulls are so tame that they will almost land on your arm or take food out of your hand or fingers.