Our daughter has returned to work, 28 hours a week, term-time only. She gets to boost her income, we get to do the school pick-up. But that’s what we’ve always done, mucked in and helped out where we can, come rain or shine. Yesterday, the shine was on ‘hold’, and we all got drenched. Actually the twins were double-drenched, having been trudging around the countryside on an autumn walk, and kicking their way back to school through piles of soggy leaves.
So, home for a quick snack, a cuppa, and a half-finished account of a friend’s wonky penguin, from Iris, before setting out again.
In the car, en route to SW’s piano lesson. The rain is incessant, the windows are just about holding their own, against steaming up, although a corner on the passenger side has presented itself as a space where a smiley face can grow. Some fingertip doodling takes place as our conversation swings easily between her latest jokes (invariably made up on the spot, and sometimes landing with all the humour of a cryptic crossword clue) and getting briefed on the days events at school. I listen intently, of course. Who would want to miss delicious tales of a chaotic Spanish lesson, or the scarily accurate impressions of the dinner lady from hell? Not me.
But her attention shifts, as it invariably does, to my schooldays. Did I have teachers I didn’t like? Did I have teachers I did like, and why? Was I naughty? Did I get told off?
Fortunately, the journey is a relatively short one, but I did have time to put my case and explain that most teachers in my day possessed little by way of a personality you could admit to liking. In fact, we went to school to learn, not like. If we did like, it was fortuitous, and the hands of the classroom clock moved a tad faster.
She shook her head in disbelief at ‘hands on heads’, ‘fingers on lips’, ‘go and stand in the corner’. She winced at the thought of corporal punishment being administered to naughty children, in front of the entire class. Thank goodness, kids don’t have to endure the threat of a size ten plimsoll these days. Yet, in the news, this article, about the ‘university walk’, recently introduced in St George the Martyr primary school in central London. Apparently, “It was introduced to strengthen pupil safety, further raise the aspirations of pupils and to maximise learning time.”
I have to say, in my opinion, the idea is totally bonkers, and I’m prepared to stand on my chair for the remainder of the lesson for saying so!