In these images, the ideal of the orderly space of the schoolroom is overturned. On the left, a bad schoolroom stands as a symbol of idleness. The schoolmaster himself sits at his desk, but appears to be lethargically ignoring the pen, ink and books that surround him. His pupils are all engaged in play: some with a windmill, and others with a dog, who they are busy teasing with the whip that the negligent master should be using to keep them busy.
The painting on the right by Jan Steen takes on the same theme, though in a less emblematic and more naturalistic style. Steen is known for depicting crowded and disorderly spaces, often with a moralistic bent. As this schoolmaster sleeps, the children run riot, standing on tables and pissing into jugs, while a pig eats the papers that have been scattered on the floor.