Are our children learning anything useful in school these days? I don’t mean times tables or which gory battles were won by which monarch, I’m talking about stuff that the major and even the most minor religions and philosophies tend to include in their How-To manuals. You know, basic info which makes it that bit easier to hang out with any one of 7 billion strangers in the vast playground of life.
If you’re a Reception or Kindergarten teacher is it necessary to keep reminding kids not to kill each other, commit adultery or follow the Divine Path at dinner time? Probably not, but there are a few of the lesser rules that need repeating. Often.
I’ve seen a few dodgy things going on recently and wondered if you’d noticed too. So here are three of our Year 5 children who’ve kindly volunteered to do a Show and Tell about good behaviour.
Take it away Jeremy, Theresa and Nigel !
Thank you children, you can go back to your seats now.
So do we blame the parents when it goes wrong? Definitely! what a good idea!
What if we ARE the parents though? In that case we can blame society and the declining moral values of everybody else.
Easy peasy. That’s me covered. Though how does a primary school teacher address this? Far from using the birch, or handing out ‘lines’, they now tend to sit their charges down and say,
“Martha was sad when you flushed her Barbie down the toilet. How can you make a better choice next time?”
I desperately want this system to work. How much more civilized to be talked to gently rather than the ritual humiliation of my own early schooldays which involved sarcasm, shouting and having to stand in front of the class with a pointy dunce’s hat on. The trouble is there are just some children who are talked to gently and yet it all washes over them. Sometimes these children go on to become captains of industry, politicians or office managers and repeat their ‘bad choices’, so perhaps we should just pop them on the naughty step for a while so they can reflect on their conduct and try to be a little kinder. I do hold out hope that its never too late for them to get the picture – after all as Dr Seuss said, ‘Adults are just outdated children.’
We’ve also just heard that British primary school teachers, although they have the same amount of face-to-face teaching time, spend one and a half hours a day MORE than their European colleagues on admin and marking etc. That’s well over 7 hours a week over and above an already hectic and exhausting timetable. When on earth do they have the time to do all this counselling? Apparently the school’s influence on any child is less than 15% anyway, so once more the spotlight turns back to the home.
Maybe there was at least one person in the youth or childhood of these errant kids who thought it was ok to bully, cheat and lie. So I reckon it’s yours and my responsibility to spot all those Rob Titcheners in Borsetshire and the rest of the real world, then sort the bastards out.
“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate,” a traditional saying goes. In which case it looks like we’re the ones the next generation will be holding to account.
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