Friday, 26 August 2011


Dashed into town today to get a battery for the kitchen scales, and birthday guff for our recently-moved in house-guest who, despite his protestations that he 'doesn't do birthdays' will have to get over the fact that here at the Manor we do do birthdays so he WILL have card/ presents/ cake etc on Sunday whether he likes it or not. But I shall hang fire on the banners and balloons as he is new to the whole Malarkey and a full-on birthday experience could be a tad too much. But when in Rome etc etc blah blah blah. You know.

So it rained, of course, which I guess is the rain that should have arrived yesterday for the non-picnic, and whilst I was hurrying along getting puddle-sprayed by cars and buses, and shoved into water-drenched gutters by young mums with buggies and old ladies with shopping trollies, I was having a bit of a mutter to myself about the GCSE exam results article in the Daily Moan. It said that teachers were FORCING students to take exams a year early i.e at 15 in order to boost their school's position in the Government league tables, and in doing so were setting them up to fail because they weren't getting the grades they were capable of getting if they took the exams at the correct time i.e 16. And this practice has been going on since 2005-ish.

Well, let's just get one thing straight shall we??

Most of the teachers I know, myself included, object to the practice of entering students early into an exam unless they are VERY talented/ brainy/ intelligent/ have highly pushy parents. And those students are a rarity. A teeny tiny rarity. Most teachers I know would prefer to enter students for exams when they are supposed to be entered i.e at the end of Year 11 because we want them to achieve the best grade they can and not just the 'C' grade the league tables are based on. It's the management teams in the schools who want them entered early. I have sat in many meetings about this early entry malarkey and each time us classroom teachers have voiced our concerns and objections. But do you know what? Management (as I suspect is the case in all other businesses and organisations) will do what they darn well like regardless. So, Daily Moan, it's not just the students who end up demoralised, a lot of us teachers do, too.

Then, as I was muttering about what I deemed another teacher-bashing article, I heard shouty voices ahead. A boy, about 7 or 8 years old was trailing along after whom I assumed was his mother. He was shouting, 'We go into shop after shop after shop after shop and you neva buy me nuffin. Neva!' and his mother turned around and shouted back, 'Oh yeah? Is that wot yoo fink, you ungrateful little b*****d. Just yoo let me tell you exactly....shouty....shouty...shouty....shout...SHOUT!'

I switched off at that point. This is what is wrong, you see. With our society. If the parents shout at the children, the children will shout back because they think that's a good and healthy way to communicate. Then those children will go back to school next week and shout at their peers and at their teachers, because it's all right to shout at anyone as long as they get what they want. And of course they want everything. They can't go out, socialise, have a trip to the shops without thinking about what THEY should get out of it. I expect that little lad, if asked what it was he wanted, wouldn't be able to say. All he knew was that because his mum had bought something for herself or someone else, then it was his right to have something too. And don't even get me started on the appalling grammar and double negatives.

It's becoming more and more common at school, if you ask a student to help you with something, like carry some books back to the store cupboard or plug the laptops back into the lap safe, that they want to know what's in it for them. My usual response is, 'A nice warm glowy feeling that you've helped someone,' which is generally met with a grunt and look of derision.

There were more grumpy people in town today than you could shake a stick at. Snapping and snarling, glaring and growling, it was like full moon at Battersea Dogs' Home. I didn't hang around. The kitchen scales are re-batteried and ready for the making of an enormous birthday cake. And I shall dance around the kitchen whilst I bake, and most likely sing, too.

For today, despite the rain, despite going back to school next week, I am NOT a grumpus!

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