Lots of niggly listy things done this week so thought I would drift away for a moment for a think.
RELIEF – No more medical interventions for three months save for a quick rubber snake down the throat maybe – so hurrah for that!!
FRUSTRATION – I am wrapped in a straight jacket of teaching procedures at the moment. Of course we “academics” (pah) have it easy, compared to the primary, secondary and FE folk. There is still an absence of the ultimate sanction in most universities and so we can get-away-with-it by ignoring some of the nonsense poured down like wet cement upon or heads by the dept of higher education or whatever they are called.
MOAN – I know its oft said and even ofter moaned about, but there really is an infectious management culture thing that spreads through advanced economies like the flu. Among educationalists it’s more like the plague – fatal to morale, creativity and to good teaching. Please could someone ask them all to go away and leave us beautiful creative folk alone. Any of you folk unfamiliar with A.S Neil might want a gander at this http://www.summerhillschool.co.uk/asneill.php
Summerhill looks like it could be a nightmare to be part of (eg teach, be a pupil, live near, pay for) and it has a checkered history, nearly closing in the 1980’s cos of some OFFSTEDy type scathing report. I have heard that some children in later life have scorned it vociferously and it does have something of the hippy cult exclusivity aura around it – school for the Glastonbury Poppies and Sams. Like so much that is out of the ordinary it is probably as flawed as the ordinary but at least it is trying to be different, and that has to be a good thing when so much education policy these days is about reproducing the schooling whatever the minister is in charge happened to have. Grammar schools (Blah, blah blah) are in because Teresa May went to one. And look at what she has achieved!
RANT – Our blind acceptance of the status quo annoys me a lot. Everything should be questioned, scrutinised and criticised at all times. What we are doing to children in schools is certainly worth chucking away right now. In mainstream schools we seem to have turned punishing our children into a cultural ‘must do.’ Thankfully we don’t whack them anymore but we substituted that punishment for “achieving”. That means working hard, striving lots, doing things, lots of things…. What has happened to lying on your book pulling the fluff out of your belly button? Maybe I should run a module in that discipline.
RANT CONT….When I was a teenager I used to have an orange bobbly bed cover on my bed, upon which I lay, kicking a plastic spider that hung down by a string from the light above. This activity has held me in excellent stead for those moments when only thinking about something really is all that is needed (like now). I do not need to fact check, read anything, ask anyone, complete a worksheet, pass an exam —- just bluuuuuur and out it comes all runny and delicious and maybe largely wrong (if such a notion existed). The capacity to think for yourself is at the antithesis of what eduction achieves. It cannot do so when we teach teachers the craft of not thinking for themselves. We do that by ensuring that rigidly stick to a pre(o)scribed process and that to step out of line will result in all their pupils failing the this-that-or-the-other-test-crap-nonsense. I deplore the state of mind that uncritically thinks that education always has value and that educators should respected. Teachers are all crap I should know I am one. Education does have value sometimes for some people (mainly goody goodies and I have no time for them) and some educators are good, like some dogs are well behaved but some are not, so steer clear they may bite you or drag you under a bus. And it also ‘messes up your head man.’ Especially if you are a teenager who has been told repeatedly through her school career that GCSE’s or A levels are the end of lifes journey to hope, and if you mess them up the only way left is the Hell that is failure – OOOOOOOOhh. Apparently failures have consequences, like falling off your bike and knocking your teeth out. What nobody tells you is a/ – you may come to prefer your toothless grin to your toothed b/ – if you are that upset just go to the dentist and get a crown. Just don’t cry, despair or listen for a moment to old people cos they are all wrong! Education is really cool, when you are ready for it and if you want it. A.S Neil made it optional, he made it fun and he made it creative. We have made it compulsory, dull and regurgative of the supposed wiser ones who claim to be entitled to teach, but know nowt. Myself included.
LAUGH – Here is my favourite picture ever.