Friday, 28 March 2008

School -the best years of your life?

I have finished work for the spring break and now we have two glorious weeks away from school. I work in a local primary school as a Pupil Support Assistant and have been there for 7 years. I love my job and I loved going to school when I was young. Sadly DD#1 has not enjoyed school and finds it hard, she is bright but has difficulty with her attention and reading is a chore that she will avoid at all costs. She will be sitting her exams in May and will be glad when she does not have to go back to school. I really hope that college will offer her a different learning experience which will show her that education can be fun.
DD#2 is very intelligent and has been told by her school that she is one of the brightest pupils in her year, where it all goes wrong for her is the relationships she has with her teachers and peer group. She will be moving to a level 3 behaviour support school after the holidays and hopefully the small class sizes will allow her to fill in all the gaps in her education. If she sticks in there she will be able to leave next year with qualifications that people in the year above her will be doing.
It made me think that school is not always the fantastic thing that it is made out to be. I honestly was really lucky to be happy at school, and DD#3 seems to be happy too. We were talking in the staffroom the other lunchtime about discipline and what can be done in some situations that become difficult to deal with and our lovely classroom assistant spoke about how she had a tough time at primary school, and how the head had it in for her. We laughed, but she was serious and told us of some of the things that had happened to her like how she was targeted and given the belt, often for no reason, or even worse when someone else had done something. At one point her friend had said to the head that it was actually her that was talking and that S**** had only been asking her to stop so they didn't get into trouble and S still got the belt!
Many years later S had gone back to her old school for her own daughters parents night and although the staff had all changed, when approached by the new Head Master she recounted her time at school and broke down in tears, I am sure that she reverted back to that broken girl she was who had been mistreated by a person in power that should have known better.
I am so glad that that type of punishment is not allowed in schools today it has stopped many needless attacks on children.
As a parent I am lucky to work in the same school that DD#3 attends and she does not have any difficulty with it. In Scotland we used to have a fantastic educational system, but like most other places things change and new approaches are brought in to comply with current thinking. We are currently changing from the 5-14 curriculum to The Curriculum for Excellence. As a lowly PSA we do not have the luxury of staff meetings and training days and we rely on teachers and heads guiding us in the right direction. The new system is much more flexible and has the individual child at the heart and embraces new teaching methods and the teaching of skills for life as well as academics. I hope this new approach will enable many children to have the best years of their life at school and leave them with many fond memories, not nightmares.


Sylvie said...

Angela, stories like that make me angry, but you're right, luckily things like that aren't allowed anymore. I still think that there is a lot of unfair treatment going on, but it's less obvious now. I was lucky, just like you I enjoyed going to school most of the time.

Marie said...

I don't know how you cope with it all Angela. I really admire you. I loved school when I was a girl and I cried the day I graduated. By the way that recipe link for the cake is in the body of my post. You just have to click on the title of it. Perfect Party Cake. It's in the paragraph right under the first picture. It's really hard to be on a diet and have that cake in the house, but so far I am doing really well with it! (Not sure how much longer I can hold out though!)