Over time, questions for which he was ill-prepared had resulted in this conditional reflex. Prep school, King Charles II Boys, then Oxford, and finally the merchant bank in the city; every phase of his life seemed to him to have been one long Pavlov experiment aimed at damaging his mouth.
Why is the square root of two irrational? Why are the Halogens so alike and yet so different? Why had he poured millions of pounds of investor’s money into risky derivatives?At least he could afford the lip cream. The £80k bonuses meant that he was financially secure for the moment, and the Mercedes hadn’t depreciated as much as his stocks, so he could always downsize to an Audi.
Idle hands, the devil’s work he had thought, so he looked for new employment in insurance and in high street banks, but the crisis had hit hard.
A friend mentioned teaching. New six-month courses for talented individuals who were interested, fast-tracked upwards in the system. He felt he had all the skills that a new recruit needed. The 2.1 (tick), an ability to make spreadsheets and flowcharts (tick), experience outside school in the real world of international investment funds (tick), occasional babysitting for the nephews on weekend leave from St. Agatha’s (tick) – all present and correct. No need for him to waste a whole year with mumbo jumbo pseudo-psychology, learning about the latest education methodologies.
The interview had been going so well, until that thin faced woman with the glasses had asked him “Why is it that boys, who used to lag behind girls in maturity and academic development before closing the gap around year 9, now seem no longer able to? What changes in teaching style do you think could positively benefit them, whilst still maintaining the interest of girls?
Quentin St. John Warder bit his lip.