Smiling again

29th March 1996 at 00:00
In a week when few teachers were smiling after the shock of Dunblane, business was as usual at my school. I had 33 children to assess for key stage 1.

After being kicked, verbally abused and punched by a child, and then verbally abused by parents in the same week, my love of teaching and understanding of why I was really doing this job was at rock bottom.

Then I assessed Thomas, a delightful, naive six-year-old, like they all used to be. What did Thomas know of science, and could he categorise? He competently looked at the array of objects before him, designed to stimulate the many aspects of science covered by the national curriculum. He then arranged them into "curvy" and "not curvy" sets, and his expertise was duly noted and applauded.

What did he know about materials, I wanted to know. Could he sort them into natural sets and man-made sets?

"That's easy," he retorted and with great panache he took a cork and on it placed a fluted-edged beer-bottle top. Then he took a plastic cotton reel and on it placed an acorn, topping it with a small scallop shell. He then placed his two creations side by side, and stood up a wooden dolly peg. With great aplomb, he announced: "This is the man and these are the maids."

My faith in children was restored and I know once again why I am teaching.

Colleagues, where in the Government's national curriculum order of things does this wonderful revelation come? Here we have imagination, purity of thought, innocence and qualities far beyond anything assessed.

CHRISTINE TRICKER Year 2 teacher 14 Vermont Drive East Preston West Sussex

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