When sheets don't work

14th July 2000 at 01:00
I HAVE just looked with horror at my eight-year-old's schoolbooks sent home as she entered Year 3. As a child I remember waiting in anticipation to show my parents the fruits of my labour. I couldn't wait to show them stories I'd written or pictures I had drawn with, on the whole, an encouraging comment written at the bottom.

There was no such excitement with my daughter as she thrust a dishevelled carrier bag at me. Gone were the lovely stories where children's imaginations could run wild to be replaced with comments such as: "Where are your full stops?" "Have you forgotten capital letters?" "Nice story but." Indeed it was difficult to find any stories of worth among the mountains of worksheets.

My worst fears were confirmed when looking on the back of yet another mahs worksheet. It had been annotated as "maths worksheet 136(b)"!

I thought science may have been different and my heart lifted at the sight of a proper book rather than the ubiquitous folders that constituted maths and English work. However, this excitement was not to last for as I turned the page it appeared that the worksheets had merely been stuck in!

As a qualified primary teacher, I am well aware of the pressures teachers are under to achieve results but at what cost?

Perhaps my youngest child, who is six, summed it up when discussing what he did at school today by replying "well we didn't do anything for Father's Day if that's what you mean. I don't think we've got any worksheets on it!"

D Vinsome

Escallond Drive

Seaham, Co Durham

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