Thursday, 18 June 2009

It Has Started

The pushing and the prodding.

Picking up on the negative, potential ones at that, rather than celebrating the good, and under no account shall we look at the larger picture.

After my son had his first school induction session, it was understandable that the talk on the playground this morning – amongst the parents at least – was how each of the children had ‘got on’.

As always, I went glib, opting for ‘good – no big deal’ and thinking about it, even that was an over elaborate response, most of the parents were just waiting for me to finish so they could impart their observations and criticisms.

I thought we were talking about how the kids got on? No? Silly me.

These people really do not know me, yet.

One parent was critical of the Teacher, who in her year as an NQT (Not Quite a Teacher Newly Qualified Teacher), had not pushed, yes that is pushed, his other child - who is six by the way – hard enough.

My philosophy, current I have to admit, is that pushing is counter active. And eventually it means a child will get turned off by education, not to mention the possible social problems it causes and disruption to teaching the class as a whole.

I could not be bothered to explain this today, I went for clarifying what they were saying, and then silence instead.

That will probably work just as well.

I think I was also about hearing three sentences that started with “When I was at school….” or “At my school….” away from retorting with a “So f**king what.” or a “And your point is?”

But again, I was a model of restraint.

Education is important, vital in fact, but education without fault is no education at all, that is called programming.

Give me a school without blemish and I would run a mile. The welfare of the school and its children is as important to the ‘standards’ it achieves.

I want people to care, not try too hard, and in extremes, not focus on the narrow measurables.

Opportunities to be good, both academically and extra-curricular.

Appraisal of alternate methods, and appreciation that learning can be done whatever the subject, or method, would be a huge bonus.

This place certainly seems to be set to provide that, and furthermore it is really the facility that the whole of our small community centres around.

Lots will be learned here, about people, relationships, purpose, community, sport, farming, living, as well as the three Rs.

I will be keeping my gaze firmly on the big picture.

Just how long do you reckon that will last?



Jo Beaufoix said...

You will get used to this. And you will button your lip and edge away from the people who think differently from you, or at least who think in a way not dissimilar to a fascist dictator.

Miss M will be starting school in September too. I found out today that they changed the cut off date so she's in and I'm so excited. All I want for her from her induction is that she's ok. That she eats some of her dinner, os not upset and has a nice time. In fact I think that's all I want for her for pretty much her first few years. Like you say, learning will happen as she experiences and enjoys her time there. It's happened with Miss E and I have every confidence it will happen with Miss M too.

Whoops, sorry, essay. I'm just all excited right now. :D Well done Max and well done you. Chilled out is good.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I'm not saying you have to button your lip by the way, but it's just easier sometimes, otherwise you might find you want to batter them.

Maternal Tales said...

Jo's right - this sort of attitude comes with the territory unfortunately - parents just don't seem content unless they're criticising some aspect of the school - it might be because after 4 years of being in total control of what their children do and learn, they are finally powerless and out of control. It's all an excuse so they have somethign as ammunition when little F or little R don't do so well - blame it on the school - they were never behind before they came here. But, there will be parents you just have to weed them out!!

Liz@Violet Posy said...

LOL! Not long ;) That said some of them are utter nutters, but some of them I suspect are like me. Parents panic because 43% of kids are effectively illiterate at 11 and it never gets fixed. My 16 yo goddaughter can't read or write, neither can my 20 yo brother in law, or my nephews aged 14,12 or their 11yo can see where I'm going with's sad but there is a vaste swathe of kids who needed to be challenged or well at least educated so they have the basics. None of these kids are from 'bad' families but solid working class stock the same as dh and I. Whereas we got to Uni they'll be lucky to ever be employed. So don't judge the pushy parents, it's probably that they've been through it before or
are just terrified that they'll end up with a NEAT x.

Tara said...

I've sometimes been stood in a group of parents in the school playground convinced I am the only sane one there.
There is no need to 'push'. Kids are like giant sponges and love to learn. It's about finding their learning mojo and tapping into it at all times - at home, in the car, walking.
I think parents need to find their own child's learning curve and help them along it so it never becomes a chore or a bore.

Penelope said...

My daughter's Reception teacher was a prize bitch. Simple as that. She pushed so damn hard that even now, 7 years later, my daughter will not put her hand up in class for "fear of getting the answer wrong". Miss P is actually a top-of-the-class student but had the confidence kicked out of her at 4.5 years old and I don't think she will ever get over it.
Pushing that hard is not the way forward.
Keep your eyes on the big picture, and knowing you, I think you will stick with that ethic all the way through :o)

SciFi Dad said...

Great post.

I totally agree with you about pushing. It can never end well.

My biggest issue is with training versus educating. Kids in most schools are trained: give the answer the teacher tells you to give. Few are educated: take what you've learned and apply it to something NOT spoon-fed to you.

Ashley said...

I have to agree that pushing is not the answer. Motivate, encourage, and challenge (to a reasonable degree) seems much more sensible. Unfortunately there are children who simply won't respond well to the classroom environment. Pushing these children is only going to make things worse. Instead the teacher and the parents (yes, I believe it takes a community to teach) need to find a way to make the child's adjustment to the school situation as comfortable as possible (don't look down on them if they fail at a task, recognize when they have improved and encourage the growth, make them feel as if they are part of the group).

Absolutely Write said...

Keep hold of that delicious optimism and big picture perspective. I love our kids' primary school - it just brims with good positive experiences, warmth and togetherness.

Sadly what you're experiencing is not an uncommon playground phenomenon: Parents thinking that the only way to bond and make friends is to have a jolly good moan. But don't worry, you'll soon weed out the nicer people, they're just not so in-your-face as the whiney ones. In the same way, your son will naturally gravitate to little friends that he sees eye to eye with too.

Kori said...

I think that what a lot of parents AND teachers forget is that it is really OUR job (as parents)to make sure that our kids get eh education WE think they need. to the above person who complained about literacy rates, or lack of them, I really believe THAT falls under the category of lack of time with parent (s) actually foloowing through on things taught at school. I agree that teachers should challenege our kids, NOT push them, but I also believe that we as parents have to give them the opportunity to use what they learn. School provides the basics, and that's it. There is MY two cents, ha ha ha.

cartside said...

And I keep quoting that school only accounts for 14% of learning in a child's life. School is immensely overrated. But of course for so many, it's easier to pass over responsibility for learning to an insitution and then criticise it at every opportunity than face this reality.

Thumbelina said...

How long will it last?
Hmm. Until your child is not happy or no longer achieving or thriving. But that might never happen. Truly.
You are right. There are no such things as "unblemished" or perfect schools and teachers. You have a very balanced viewpoint. Just consider Jo's advice and stay on the fringes, looking at the big picture because otherwise you will get sucked right in before you know it.

Stay positive. There is always positive. To me, communication is the key. I (now) have an excellent headteacher and that strong and approachable lead inspires confidence in the whole school.

Whoops - essay too. You;ll be fine. You have a balanced view. Keep hole of that.

Thumbelina said...

Keep HOLD of that. Holes you do NOT want.
It's late.

Split-Second Single Father said...

As an educator, it is refreshing to read this post and the many comments from people who obviously "get it". The school's job should be to expand upon what has been taught in the home, while the parent's job is to expand upon what has been taught at school. Typically the parents who complain the loudest are the ones who are doing the least "teaching" at home (You'd be surprised how often I have to tell my parents just to talk to their kids. It seems not to have occured to some that this might be a good idea!)

You are wise to stay on the outskirts of these kinds of discussions.

Thanks for putting up such a positive post about the school.

Potty Mummy said...

Good on you SPD, stick to your guns. I bumped into a mum of a friend of Boy #1's on the way home from school yesterday who told me she has enrolled her son in Kumon maths because he can't yet count up to 200.

He's 5.

For chrissake.

frugal dad said...

Interesting observation about the way other parents were really just waiting for their turn to talk. People rarely actually listen to each other.

A Modern Mother said...

And what really annoys me is that the ones that complain NEVER help out at school.

HM had her induction as well... my last baby... (sob)

clareybabble said...

I think most of these parents are trying to rectify their own mistakes through their kids. You're right not to be drawn in!

Single Parent Dad said...

Jo Beaufoix - Great news on Miss M.

Maternal Tales - I'll sure be seeking them.

Liz - Don't think this is a concern of these parents. They're talking about kids doing maths equations at six.

Tara - That's my aim, avoiding the boredom, maintaining the thirst.

Penelope - Will be doing my bestest.

SciFi Dad - That's becoming a nationally recognised issue here.

Ashley - Cheers for that comment. Very good advice,

Absolutely Write - Thank you. And I hope so.

Kori - Responsibility is a HUGE issue.

Cartside - Indeed it is. And scarily government seems keen to take more responsibility, not less.

Thumbelina - I hope that never happens. And communication is key.

Split-Second Single Father - No worries.

Potty Mummy - Not sure I've ever counted to 200.

Frugal Dad - They weren't listening to me, that's for sure.

A Modern Mother - Very true. Actually, these were one of few not helping at the summer fete.

Clareybabble - I think so too.

Post a Comment