Democracy, Dictatorships and the Pope

I thought that in the wake of Saddam's execution, the introduction of our new year 9 topic - Democracy and Government - might not be greeted with the same response as last year. "Miss, why we got to do dat shit?" and "Miss politics is well shit".

Sadly, however, Favourite-Class-9BC's responses were almost identical. Gemma slumped in her seat, and threw her head down on the table. "Miss, why we got to do such borin stuff in this lesson?" Then Mana, clearly seeing my heart about to break, piped up. "Aw guys, it aint Miss's fault whats on the criklam thing". There was a general murmer of agreement for a while. But this benevolence didn't remain after Miss's confession:
"What are you talking about? Politics is extremely cool!"

(At this point I did almost slap my face in horror - I've become an adult who says cool and sounds anything but.)
Anyway, after the obligatory desert island scenario (how will you make rules? will you have a leader? how will you choose them? etc) we get onto definitions of democracy, monarcy and dictatorship. Whereupon Gemma decides to wake up.
Gemma: "Miss, I is baffled by dictators"
(ah from the mouths of babes...)

Miss: "Basically, it's someone who is in control of a country, and there are no limits to what they can do, and the people don't choose them. Can anyone think of an example? Someone like this who has been in the paper recently?"

Gemma: "What, you mean like the pope?"
(Class erupts in hysterics)

Aisha: "Nah man, she meant Saddam innit Miss"

Gemma: "But the pope has that country, the Vatican, and he controls it, and there's no laws is there, only God but you can't mean he's their constitution can she Miss, God aint no constitution, and Catholics don't vote for the pope. At least I aint never been asked to vote, and my dad says I'm catholic."
There ensues twenty minutes of Miss Jones trying to explain why Dictator has negative connotations, and why people wouldn't typically use the word to describe the Pope...

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