Choccy bribe is ghastly

28th October 2005 at 01:00
I'm feeling weak. I've just bought a bag of chocolate pumpkins for my class, a half-term halloween present, if you like. But that's just it - I don't like this.

I wonder why? Do I feel that they should be falling over themselves to put chocolate on my desk? Well, yes, I do. But there's something more to this.

You see, giving sweets to children for doing things they should do anyway just isn't my thing. Never has been. And yet it seems to be a growing part of school culture. Gold stars? You must be joking! They want bribes they can eat.

Look at these bags of sweets balanced on files and stuffed into lockers.

"Well, they expect it now..." is something I often hear. And here's me, lamely giving in to their expectations.

Am I afraid of how much worse they'll behave if I don't buy them stuff when so-and-so gives them blah blah? You bet. This is giving with an undertow of appeasement. "They expect it now..." That sounds slightly creepy to me, as if we're keeping something dark and angry at bay.

Well, that's just what halloween used to be about. Giving sweets to children for spooky reasons has been going on for centuries. Across Europe, children once wore halloween masks to represent our dead ancestors. This wasn't just a costume: at transitional times of the year, it was believed that the dead came into close contact with the young.

We gave the children sweets to honour the dead. This satisfied them, sending them safely back to their world and keeping our own in balance. So, we give sweets to kiddies, who eat them for dead people, and this, er, keeps the world in order. Oh, yeah, World Order. The papers are full of that. Every other headline is "World Order kept - again".

Still, it's quite a thought. My bag of little pumpkins connects me with a folk belief in chocolate after death. Well, I want my chocs now, while I can still choose the ones I like.

What if when I'm dead some stupid child keeps bringing me all the coffee creams and lemon fondants that its mother doesn't like? Forget it. I mean, how would you choose chocolates from the grave? "Woooo! Be not afraid, my child. Hear me from beyond the great shadow... Bring me Smarties, but not the blue ones, and also something dark and chewy."

Too bad, kids. You're not getting these. You're no ambassadors from the dead, and this loot is mine. Chomp... 'urp.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now