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Hi,

Having had the luxury of an extra week off before Christmas, we’re very much enjoying the second week off. As much as being a grown-up brings certain responsibilities, it does not include homework. Child 2.0 has a few items set and they’re doing their best to get them out of the way

Sadly no GCSE in Being Fabulous

With that in mind, the old phrase school days are the best days of your life hauled itself out of the depths. Okay, maybe for some, but listening to the Ever Lovely Mrs J, a few friends, and my own experience, really, things got a lot better when we were out of it.

So, for anyone currently in school reading this, it does get better and no, school is not the best it gets. Life outside, be that employment, the arts, university, volunteering, or parenthood, brings choice and as such, you can find what you really like doing. That might be obvious to you or it might take years, there’s no rush or prizes for coming first

It’s not that school is awful, I think it’s the lack of choice, a few bad apples, and growing up can be tough (ugh, puberty and mental health). Throw all that in with the stresses of study and, well, it’s not going to be an easy ride. Not to play Misery Top Trumps, I’d add that being LGBTQ+ as at teen adds an extra ‘weight’ to deal with too.

On the other side of it, there’s some amazing teachers in the system and they do make a difference in the time you have with them. There’s a rare few in which as a kid and indeed now as a parent, part of you observes and wonders if you dislike this so much, why stay? But that’s another topic of conversation for another day. However, I will add that it’s often the system of work that causes such behaviour. Listening to friends who’ve taught, it’s not easy. There main issue seems to be paperwork, although a few had choice words about funding and government interference.

So, what if anything can we take from all this? Well, try to focus on the good bits. Enjoy the time with friends, what interests you, and try not to think about the stuff you don’t like. If school is not your bag, try not to mess it up for others and make sure you’ve covered at least the basics of numeracy and literacy. It’s also not your only shot at this education lark.

If you fail your exams, there’s retakes and indeed further education colleagues can help with your A Levels. By luck, I’ve bumped into a few folk who decided to do qualifications after leaving school. It seems they couldn’t quite get it at the time or that their choices didn’t play out as they’d hoped. I would certainly hold my hand up to both of those. There’s people who are much more hands on and they thrive in creative, technical, or mechanical environments.

But, we do what we can and if we can ignore the platitude about school days, maybe we can focus on things have a funny way of working out for the best. You will meet people who get you, your body & mind will settle, and with luck, there will be no double Maths on a Friday afternoon 😉

L x

PS: RIP April Ashley who passed away recently. April was a trailblazer in navy way and you can read about her in The Guardian and BBC.

6 Comments

  1. If being a grown up means there’s no more homework then why am I reading a book on Statistics over the holidays? (That said, it’s a pretty good one by David Speigelhalter, Professor of Public Understanding of Risk, and has sensible things to say about avoiding being manipulated by scare stories in the press and media. Recommended). But I can trace my fascination with maths to a good teacher in secondary school who didn’t shame me when I failed to hand in an early homework assignment and admitted I didn’t understand what was being asked, but stopped the lesson right there and led me though it patiently until I understood. And once I learned that I could manipulate the numbers rather than it being the other way round I was off and running.
    That aside, my school days weren’t anything I look back on with fondness. That came at uni (one reason to just put your head down and get on work as hard as you can.) I was lucky, but I have serious respect for people who choose to catch up their education and qualifications later on when it must be even harder to find the time to study. Life and learning only stops when you let it. And perhaps it’s true that day when you don’t learn something that is new or surprising – which can be about anything – is a day that’s been wasted.
    (A chef’s hat, called a toque, traditionally has 100 pleats meant to represent the 100 ways to cook an egg. And my work here is done….)

    1. “…why am I reading a book on Statistics over the holidays?”

      Ah, perhaps the choice in that and maybe a joy of learning is what helps? Like honing a skill such in creating, fixing, or understanding. I find Maths baffling, but I’m with you on trying to understand when one is being played by twisted evidence. Luckily, Mrs J’s and Wee Man’s number skills are razor sharp.

      I have mixed feelings about my school days, but uni – or poly, in my case – was a wholly different situation. A chance to throw off the old labels, learn differently, meet new people, and, well, start to live on your own. I didn’t finish my course, but in going I learned – oh, this sounds so cheesy – to live on my own and not just to survive, but to thrive.

      I remember in a Careers lesson the teacher going through prospective grades and which university they were headed to. I say this with no grumble or malice, in that knowing I’d get to a polytechnic if I was lucky, the grammar school let me know I was one of those people. 🙂 Ah, they do things differently in the 80s. That school snobbery aside, the teacher in question said “how is it you computer types are very good at one thing?”. He wasn’t being mean or any of that nonsense, but seemed genuinely curious. I think it’s a mindset thing and thankfully, the Internet arrived just at the right time. A good job given I flunked Maths and didn’t pass GCSE English first time around either. Bloggers eh? Tsk 😉

      Given my experiences in the grammar system and how well Mrs J had done after going to the local comp in her home town, I was keen to support our two kids in going to the local comp. That and supporting them in their choices. *Just try your best, as that’s all anyone can do in the time and situation they find themselves*

  2. Some good advice for those still at school Lynn.

    When I look back at my school years, I have quite positive memories of my time in both primary and secondary education. I made some good friends and generally enjoyed my studies. I wasn’t the best academically but I did enough to walk away with enough to do okay in adulthood.

    Sadly my comprehensive school no longer stands which is a real shame as it was a great school and it had proper classrooms unlike some of the schools built nowadays.

    Funny how I came top in Home Economics and Needlework, it would appear that my feminine side was evident even then lol.

    1. Thanks Lotte. If you left with enough to set you going, that’s a win in my book 🙂

      Sorry to hear your old school has gone. Hopefully the teachers who made it easy it was passed that on to other schools in the area.

      As to your top subjects, people need to eat well and good clothes are awesome.

  3. I always maintain that I only learnt three useful things at school, 1 How to play the Tuba, 2 How to play Rugby and 3 How to play bridge ~ some of the other stuff may have been interesting but not useful. These days they don’t seem to be able to decide what schools are for, some of our “Leaders” want everyone to learn Latin, while others don’t want anything that won’t be useful to industry taught.

    I’m afraid that I told my daughter at least once that school was something to be endured as she was bound to be under the authority of people less intelligent than her. I don’t know if there ever was a golden era, but it certainly wasn’t in the 1970s or 2000s when we were at school.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts, Paula. I think it was the week just gone in which The Guardian featured a piece about the effects various governments had had on education. Some of them positive; more seemingly not and with the latter caused by the short-term appointment of an education secretary.

      One of my old managers said that he was of an age where he did Latin at school. Likewise the nephew who went to a private school (#disagree). My old boss said that while Latin didn’t help him day to day, it had been useful in picking up other related languages. I’m not sure it should be brought back and I say that as an adult who did poorly in English and Maths. Perhaps focusing on those core numeracy and literacy skills would assist more children. I’m of the view that someone should be able to read and write before they leave school. I might add that critical thinking skills would be very useful too.

      I hope Bridge evenings go well with the music of the tuba 🙂

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