‘The Lesson’ by Roger McGough and ‘Comprehensive’ by Carol Ann Duffy both discuss the violence in schools in their poems. ‘The Lesson’ is a more visually violent poem whose bloodthirsty villain is infact the teacher, whereas the characters in ‘Comprehensive’ tell us about the problems and racial tensions in their schools without as much violent language.
Roger McGough writes about violence and tension in schools through the use of his own opinions. He uses humor in ‘The Lesson’ as he shares his views on three main themes, the first being his criticism of classroom management. ‘Chaos ruled OK in the classroom’ suggests that the teacher cannot control his students and this is further confirmed as ‘his voice was lost in the din’.
One of the most important qualities a teacher should have is power so they may continue with the lesson planned without any unnecessary interruptions and the teacher in this poem should have been able to stop the noise being made almost at once.
This point leads onto McGough’s views on teacher/pupil relationships. The poet implies that there is very little respect for the teacher as the children carry on talking and he is ‘ignored’. Throughout the rest of the poem we see the teacher carry out his anger on his class, even the headmaster joins in, someone who is seen as having a high authority and someone who must care for the children to the best ability he can. The third view we see the poet has is that schools are potentially threatening environments. We know this from the line nine until the end as vicious acts are taken place on the students, instead of them being in the safe environment that school is meant to be.