The Bricked-In School Box 4


Image: 'Schoolkeeper.'

like a knowing parent, patient and amused,
the Experience of Life
glides around the bricked-in school-box.

we struggle to learn,
isolated from Truth,
in our compartments,
with our Rules.
Walls of brick and mind dividing us from It.

“This IS the real world.”

They say.

In a long-faded comic book,
the bare-footed Kung Fu, accosted by a booted security guard,
“Does not the pavement distance your feet from Earth enough already?”

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4 thoughts on “The Bricked-In School Box

  • Peter Skillen

    Nice Andy. Looks like my old school in Belfast when I was a wee lad! 🙂 Luckily, I survived that…and, although, got punished for crossing into the girls’ playground from time to time (LOL), I have fond memories of The Wind in the Willows being read aloud to us. I was 7 years old. Then I came to Canada and made it through high school. It was mostly boring for me – never really saw myself as particularly intelligent in those days. I never really loved learning. Failed university twice after that. Got into Teachers’ College – the last year before you had to have a degree. Started teaching…determined to do it differently. At that point, I started to love learning…and then excelled at university stuff.

    My life in education – both ‘in and out’ of school has been “my real world” – and I thank all of my new found friends and colleagues for enriching this for me in recent times.

    “Another Brick in the Wall” has been replaced by The Wall coming down.


  • Andrew

    Hi Peter,

    I will honestly admit that during my high school years (and during the rage of Roger Waters’ The Wall) I was not a follower of Floyd. I did go see the film when it came out, but will confess to being continually put off by the opening lyric, “We don’t need no education,” believing at the time (as with now), that, of course, we DID need an education. Maybe I wasn’t as up then on my double negatives as I am now? Maybe there was more of a cultural divide between me and the album and its followers? There was something, because at the time I really didn’t invest energy in assessing the lyrics beyond that initial line. (Although “the dark sarc[h]asm in the classroom” line has always had a great resonance — aurally and metaphorically — seemed to be something in that…)

    Your early-school reminiscences remind me of a book we read in high school, Rumer Godden’s “An Episode of Sparrows,” set in the broken-bricked, bombed-out England, post-WWII. I do love the connections/memories that the mind makes/recalls when you stray from the pre-defined message. We need to elevate the importance of having our education-factories produce one-offs, rather than like-minds.

    They certainly DID “teared down that wall.”

  • Peter Skillen

    Hey Andy,

    I, as you have noticed, am a major Pink Floyd fan. Saw the first quadrophonic concert at Maple Leaf Gardens – Dark Side of the Moon. I interpreted the line “We don’t need no education” differently. I saw ‘education’ as ‘punitive schools’.

    You know that I see education as desperately important for the individual, for humankind and, for all else related.

    “Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting.” – Ivan Illich

    Most learning is “a product of the ambient culture rather than of explicit teaching”. – John Seely Brown

    These statements – and theorists – have brought a lot to my view of things.

  • Andrew


    Thank you! You post clarifies a couple meanings for “HEY! Teacher! Leave that kid alone!”

    It was a few years back now when I re-framed with “school is the place where kids spend a large part of the day (while they’re) growing up.”