baptism of fire

Explanation: What is an idiom?

very difficult or unpleasant first experience of something.


"You'll never guess who I saw the other day."

"Okay, give me three clues."

"Very funny. Do you remember Mr Prangley?"

"What old Evil Eye Prangley, the teacher?"

"Yeah, that's the one."

"Cor, Evil Eye Prangley. Could put a boy down from five paces with one glare, he could. And a whizz with the old board rubber. Bam! From anywhere in the room."

"Well, I was in the caff down the road...Tuesday it was, and in he walks, says hello and sits down opposite me. "Do you mind if I join you?" he asks, polite as you like."

"Blimey, was he wearing sunglasses?"

"Huh? Oh yeah, no he wasn't. Guess what?"

"Go on."

"He's a really nice bloke."

"You're joking?"

"No, we were on first name terms right away. Call me Gerard, please, he said."

"Ooh, very nice. A right teacher's pet, aren't you?"

"Anyway, he's given up teaching."

"Oh yeah, what's he become, a war criminal?"

"Give over, I felt sorry for him. He told me that our class was his first, straight out of college."

"Oh, so that's where he perfected his aim, was it?"

"He says he was terrified of us."

"Him? Of us?"

"Yeah. He said... what were his words... "it was a baptism of fire, teaching your lot", he said. He'd been told teaching was a doddle, and then when he got to our school he had to grow up fast."

"Well he didn't look all that scared to me. Scary, maybe, but not scared."

"He remembered me all right."

"Oh yeah, and what did he say about me?"

"Funny, he didn't mention you at all..."


In the bible, Christians were baptised by immersing them in water when they believed, to publically show they believe. 'Baptism' meant originally, to be completely covered with water. A 'baptism of fire' is mentioned twice in the bible to mean suffering and torture. Now, the meaning has been slightly changed to mean any experience you have which was much much worse or harder or more stressful than you had expected. It is also used of soldiers when they face battle for the first time.

We can also say, "I was thrown in at the deep end", meaning my experience was like learning to swim by being thrown into a swimming pool at the deep end and having to swim or drown.

A doddle is something that is very very easy.

A caff is an informal expression for a café.

Category: b,bible,fire

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