Saturday, May 19, 2007

MIssing You Already

The week after the opera is finished is always a flat time. I didn't sing for a good 30 years and now if I aren't singing every week I miss it. The shower is ringing with my dulcet tones at every opportunity!

Education, education, education.

I know it's 33 years since I left school and I think probably the only grammar schools left are fee paying but I still do not understand what is wrong in principal with them.

When I was 11 I took my 11 plus exam. Everyone in the borough did. Depending on how well you did you either went to a grammar school or a secondary modern school. Within those two classifications were higher or lower levels school.

By pure chance, I suspect, I ended up at Ealing Grammar and other friends at Walpole Grammar, the next tier down supposedly. We didn't have to pay. It was taken purely on your academic standings. We had pupils from all social classes. Those who weren't particularly good academically went to the secondary moderns where, apart from a good grounding in basic education they did more practical subjects than we did. The idea was that they would become "manual workers". In london this would have been engineers and the trades. The grammar school pupils were meant to go on to university, which I never made, and the secondary modern kids went on to technical college or apprenticeships.

Now of course it is the governments wish that everyone goes to university. So in London you can't get an electrician, plumber or builder for love nor money. That's not true, you can get them for money. Damn large amounts of it and after a long wait. This is why the Eastern Europe immigrant population is flooding in to fill the jobs which no-one here is being trained for.

Why can people not accept that some people are not going to be academically brilliant and it is better to give them a trade they will make money and a career of than making them do something that they are not suited for.

I have the manual dexterity of a retarded wombat but in retrospect, looking back at my life, maybe I would have been better learning how to use my hands and getting a trade than trying to get somewhere academically. On the other hand, I had the intelligence but inate laziness will always overcome that.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Tonight Matthew I am going to be....

A Hebrew Slave, A Babylonian Soldier, A Levite, An Assyrian Courtier and some of those more than once.

Yes, I'm in opera mode again. Fun but tiring.

Manners Maketh Man

A local school, independent I think though I'm not certain, are in trouble with the local education authorities for "irregular" teaching practices.

In the last 25 years I have only been called sir by two school-aged boys and had a door opened for me to pass through before them. Both boys came from that school.

I suspect that it is not in the present educational remit for manners to be allowed, let alone taught. If they are guilty of turning out respectful, well-educated (as their results appear to suggest), pupils then more power to them however they are doing it.

Meanwhile, Marj yesterday had to deal with the class from hell, as she does every Thursday afternoon. Her deputy head came and told her she wasn't teaching properly despite the fact that at the begginging of the year she asked for help as she was struggling with them and every other teacher who has taken them has the same problem.
It is the last few weeks of term for year 6 at that school and they know it. So they don't do what they are told, not that they ever really did. And there's nothing Marj can do. The worst punishment is to lose their playtime but they don't care and of course the teacher also loses thiers whilst they have to look after them. No more standing in the corner with your hands on your head these days! Just asking whether they think they have made "a good choice" with their behaviour. So this lot will probably fail their SATS, the schools statistics will be poor, the teachers will all be in trouble, and the government will no doubt come up with another initiative as to how to make life better for the kids instead of how to make life better for the teachers. No wonder so many leave the profession.