Why have kids in the equation at all?

25th July 1997 at 01:00
Hoorah, hoorah for the summer holidays! The children's reports have gone out, the parents' evenings have been endured, the dilemmas of how to phrase "snivelling wretch" in positive terms, and, of course, the discussions about next year's classes...

Will you have an enthusiastic, lively, effervescent class? Or will you have an enigmatic bunch who study you through suspicious, narrowed eyes when you, in your every deed, word and even item of clothing, confirm that you are a parallel universe and that your efforts at teaching take light years to filter through to their own little cosmos.

Often the discussion among teachers about their impending pupils (note I did not say "doom") tends to be peppered with phrases like "Can Primary 4 skip me please, I really don't want them!" or put more simply, "Oh no, not them, they're horrible".

Ultimately, the cry goes up, "Whatever happened to normal children and normal parents?" The answer to which is, they left along with normal workloads and normal working hours.

So, why not ponder the following possible solutions to the class dynamics challenge, which loosely appeared in the words of a few normally sane and pragmatic teachers...

Can we mix the classes and include the goodies of Primary 2 with the baddies of P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7?

We could tell everybody that it's a forward-thinking, dynamic new initiative. We could cloak it in positive, educationist, 5-14 policy jargon and we'd be hailed as a model school. We'd be featured in the media. Then we could use the same strategy and try for a day off a week, or a day a week without kids. We could tell everyone that we're positively encouraging independent learning. Heck, let's go for it - why have kids in the equation at all?

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