Give us all a break, please

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Timetable change three weeks before the end of term. Whose idea was it? Don't give me the hairy, hoary argument about Higher work needing to get started. That is a farce because, without results, we don't know who is sitting Higher, or at what level.

If that is the only reason, then start Higher work with the fourth-year classes as soon as they come back from so-called study leave. If they have no intention of sitting the Higher, they can be given a book and asked to read it. Any book will do - it will be the first some of them have ever read to themselves in their lives. The Da Vinci Code would be good, or Fight Club for the boys, or The Women's Room for all the girls.

The kids get all excited at the thought of a new timetable, and the teachers begin to long for the chance to get rid of certain thorns in the flesh. But what is the reality? Same little sods turn up anyway, or else continue to behave in the same revolting fashion with the new teacher. The admin staff haven't time to get new timetables printed out, and class lists compiled. Teachers are actually too tired to take on a new group of pupils, and deal with them efficiently and effectively.

And what do we lose? We lose those happy days when trips could happen to the science museum, or to art galleries; and sports days were sunny, while it always rains now. Never did in the olden days. We don't even get new-mown grass smells or the thud of cricket ball on bat.

And what about projects? Perfect time to get the art department to join forces with the English department, and while away the days on some crappy thing that everyone likes. And end-of-term services (good waste of an afternoon walking down to the church). And much as I hate the idea of prize-giving, I'm willing to be bored for that afternoon too.

We lose six weeks of kids growing up and maturing, and forgetting their defiance of last term. Some kids do improve a lot in the summer, especially if they have jobs, but too often the damage has been done because they met their new teachers three weeks before the end of term and shot themselves in the foot then.

They lose the excitement of not knowing who the teachers will be, and getting six new jotters on the first day. And actually, pupils get exhausted too. They need the breaks as much as we do.

We lose the time to clear out cupboards and make up with certain individuals over the glue sticks, and it means that we start our summer holidays on our feet and not our backs Bring back the old ways, please. Let's have a gradual rundown to the hols and start the next session with enthusiasm and new classes. Let bygones be bygones.

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