It is about school in the future. In this system, all classes are taught through television and students all learn at home. Students get to decide what classes they wish to attend and teachers get paid by how many students sign up for their courses. As a result, teachers resort to tricks to get attention. One dresses up as a clown, another wears a bikini, etc. There is an older teacher who decides to teach the old-fashioned way. That's all I remember.

  • I'm assuming this is a book? Was it a short story? Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 11:48
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    Sorry. It was a short story. I probably read it in an anthology, since it undoubtably came from one of my father's paperbacks and he liked anthologies. I feel it was a 1960's short story but it was such a long time ago, I can't be sure. Someone on another forum suggested that it might be a Vonnegut story but a google search failed to hit anything.
    – Tom Swift
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 13:21
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    I had no idea what story this was, except I know I've read it. Short stories can be so hard to track down, and I really had no intention of spending any time tracking it down. Besides, most of my books are in boxes in the other room, with maybe six anthologies on the shelf beside me. I picked one of those by random selection, and your story was right there. Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 15:10
  • Wonderful! Thank you so much. I don't know how we ever survived without the internet
    – Tom Swift
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


And Madly Teach (1966) by Lloyd Biggle. I have it in The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, Sixteenth Series (1967), edited by Edward L. Ferman.

Returning to earth from the primitive Mars colony, experienced teacher Mildred Boltz applies for a teaching position. When she meets the school officials, it is recommended she retire, but she refuses. The superintendent says,

"Classes begin next Monday. I'll assign you to a studio and arrange an engineering conference for you immediately."
"A -- studio? "
"Studio." There was a note of malicious satisfacion in his voice. "You will have approximately forty thousand students."
From a drawer he took two books, one a ponderous volume entitled. TECHNIQUES AND PROCEDURES IN TV TEACHING, and the other, mecha-typed and bound with a plastic spiral, a course outline of tenth-grade English, Northeastern United States School District. "These should contain all the information you'll need," he said.

  • Well done! I don't know how you can just call up the name of a story from the 16th release of a random anthology from the 60s.
    – Rag
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 5:21
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    I swear, it was a miracle. An accident. Synchronicity. See my comment above. I was literally thinking it would be impossible/unreasonable to find. To prove it to myself, I grabbed the first short story collection within reach on the shelf next to me. I looked at the contents, and. there. it. was. Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 14:38

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