School bell rings, signaling the beginning of a meeting between parents and a teacher at a private school in South America in the evening. It is the annual Open House, where parents will have the chance to meet the teachers and find out what their children will be doing this year in English class. Teacher, a 28 year-old woman, stands alone at the front of classroom. Parents drift in through door, stage right. Teacher greets parents by nodding, smiling, waving, calling out soft “hellos.” Parents take seats at small desks. All desks fill. More parents enter. Line the back and side walls of classroom. Teacher swallows hard.
Teacher: Hello, good evening.
Teacher: My name is Gina Coggio. I am the English teacher here for the 7th grade.
Teacher looks around nervously, seeing 30 pairs of eyes waiting expectantly for information.
Teacher: [clearing throat] You’ll have to excuse me. I’m feeling a little nervous speaking in front of you. I’m not nervous with a room full of kids, though, but that’s because I’m taller than they are.
Teacher: [gulp.] So….
Parent 1: What about homework?
Teacher: Uh, homework. [Clears throat] My philosophy is…
Parent 2: Is it a lot?
Parent 3: How much do you give a night because last year it was ridiculous.
Parent 4, 5, 6: Yeah! They didn’t have lives last year!
Parent 2: Espcially on the weekends!
Parent 7: Homework! On the weekends! It’s insanity!
Parent 8, 3, 1: How much homework do you give? Do they write it in their agendas?
Teacher: Yes, I know, but…I mean, yes, they…
Parent 10: And what about the grade from the first assigment? My child wasn’t even here! And she failed!
Teacher: No, actually, because…
Parent 11: It’s just not fair!
Parent 14, to Parent 26: [shaking heads as if to say ‘no.’]
Teacher: I understand what you’re say….
Parent 2: Down with homework!
Parents 6, 13, 439: Yeah! Down with homework! Down with teachers!
Teacher: But if I could explain….
All Parents: Down with teachers! Down with teachers! Down with school! Vacation forever!
Teacher: But…please…if we could just….all…I mean…sit down please? Could we…I’ll answer….
Parents: Books are evil! School is evil! Burn the school! Burn the Ministry of Education! Burn universities and teachers and cafeterias! Death to anyone wishing to impart wisdom, critical thinking, and organization skills! Death to vignettes and the Short Story genre!
[Torches are lit and pitchforks are seen in the background. Some parents carry ropes and shot guns. A cannon is rolled in from stage left. A gallows is constructed downstage right.]
Teacher: Please! No!!!
Bell rings again. Action stops immediately. Parents are quiet suddenly. They fumble with the paper on which the evening’s schedule is printed. They look at their watches and at the paper.
Parent 5: Alright, everyone! You heard the bell! Onto Science!
Parents: Yeah!! Let’s go!!
Parents file out of the classroom, ignoring Teacher. Teacher collapses against the desk she’s been clinging to at the front of the room, crumpling into a deflated ball of emotion.
In the background, we hear noise of the Parents. “Death to osmosis! Death to plant cells and the scientific method!”