People confuse school with education, as if they were synonymous. School lasts for a relatively short period; education never stops. It should be like the universe, constantly expanding, abhorring vacuums (and most other household appliances – ho ho). I have a number of friends who are or have been teachers. For some it has been something of a battleground, for others a constant privilege and its own education. One moan, often expressed, is around those carers – parents etc – who see the school as the sole and exclusive educator and so, if there is a hole in said education, the school is to blame.
People don’t want responsibilities; they love black and white demarcation lines, hating shades of grey in their lives. Why that is so is easy to understand. If it clear you don’t have responsibility you aren’t to blame. It appears to be part of a culture that accepts rights and abjures responsibilities.
Teachers don’t always help themselves; one of the latest tyrannies in the UK is the refusal to allow flexibility for time off school. You can say it is a Government diktat, taking from head teachers the option of deciding between the meritorious cases and the egregious ones. But as I understand it, the requirement stems from teacher pressure, hating the grey area, hating to be responsible. They too like black and white.
There are times when it can be a foul job, more crowd control than anything else. And, the medical professions apart, it is probably the most important profession, leading the education of the next generation.
But it can’t be done alone; everyone is, or should be, involved in the education of everyone else. Subtly, or overtly it doesn’t really matter. We can learn from everyone and they can learn from us. But to do so, support is needed. From everywhere and everyone. Parents, carers must help teachers and visa versa. When the Lawyer and the Vet were going through school (and by the way, school is wasted on the young – I would have loved to have been able to go back and understand about geography or biology, subjects I ‘gave up’ at 13) I was mostly in awe at the competence, thoughtfulness and empathy of their teachers, young and old. But there were a couple (at primary school) – both teaching the Lawyer (a rumbustious boy) – who pigeon-holed him and I think, did his educational advancement no favours. They made up their minds early about how difficult he might be and that coloured the help he had in their classes. The reports and parents’ evenings set my blood bubbling and, consequently, did exactly what they couldn’t have wanted – they lost my support.
Fortunately for both them and the Lawyer, the Textiliste is a far subtler operator than me; while I was shunted into a siding to let off steam she adroitly manoeuvred the chess pieces to ensure the best result was achieved.
In a way I’m glad we went through that frustration when we did because I realised that a lot of angst could have been avoided by an early discussion around any issues – the first term had nearly gone before the first real contact between us and the teacher with the inevitable pfizz of hot air. With children, when they are at their most sponge-like, ensuring the principal educators (teachers and carers) are on the same wavelength is critical. And that, of course is true in all walks of life and why education is a constant, not a time limited schooling experience – the cliché has school days as ‘the best days of your life’; nope, wrong. Education, every time you learn something new, or relearn something you have forgotten it the joy – together, the agglomeration of all those days and bits of days when learning occurs make up the best days of your life.
How did I get here? Oh yes, Charli Mills latest prompt.
August 20, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about school. The setting can be a school, involve students and teachers or can be about schooling in general. How has school influenced a place or a character?
Ok, so accepting my story of Mary and Peter, Penny and Angela and Rupert, must continue, here we go:
‘Mrs North? This is Penny’s form teacher, Miss Marks.’
‘Yes?’ Mary turned away so not as to be overheard.
‘Penny says her uncle is collecting her from school today. As we have never met him we like to check…’
‘What? Now, listen to me…’
Mary wished the solicitor wasn’t listening. When she finished, he asked, ‘Sorted?’
‘Far from it.’
‘Were you talking about Rupert?’
‘Yes, my bloody half-brother. I have to go.’ She stood and said, ‘He said Penny had asked to see his mother. Can you believe that?’
To Mary’s surprise he said, ‘Yes, I think I can.’