Janine Rees 28th October 2016
Welcome to school little, four year old preppies. Now that you are at school we are going to do away with all that frivolous play nonsense and get into some hard core learning! Aren’t you excited?! We have all sorts of activities for you. Some we have cleverly disguised as games, but it’s good, healthy, drill and practice work that will get you trained up and ready to take a whole heap of tests. We will introduce you to the rigour of learning by filling your empty vessel of a mind with dipthongs and digraphs a plenty.
We can’t wait to test you, put you into a box and stamp you with below average, average or above average. You lucky above average kids will get heaps more rigourous learning. Yayyyy! So will you below average kids; if you’re lucky enough to be identified and diagnosed with a special need other than dyslexia. We’ll apologise now to you average kids ’cause we haven’t got enough time for you, but you’ll be fine. Plus you will each get a uniform that will make everyone more average, more the same, except that the uniform will identify whether you are male or female. Boys are especially lucky because they will now gain the opportunity to pee in public for the remainder of their days.
We know you love to create, imagine and move and we will squeeze that in around our required testing (if there’s time) otherwise how will we know which kind of average you are? We will send you outside in the hottest part of the day, with no sunscreen, and minimal shade, for a quick play so that we can dash to the loo. You will also have two whole minutes to sit and have one bite of your hot sandwich.
One of the most exciting parts of going to big school is that you will get to sit for an hour (sometimes more), just like a big kid, at a special place called… Assembly. You’ll get to watch everyone else getting awards for their special behaviour. Then you too one day may be rewarded, when it get’s to your turn on the list, after all the quiet, non questioning kids get theirs first and so long as I remember to keep the list up to date.
There are a few rules you’ll need to learn, like don’t question the teacher, they are in charge of you until year 12 (and then some if you want to further your institution based education). Make sure you get along with the teacher or you’re screwed! If the teacher yells at you that is okay because they are the boss, although never yell at the teacher that wouldn’t work. At the start there will be things you hate doing, like sitting and listening all day, but after a few years you will be beautifully conditioned to stay in line and become compliant. Some of you won’t learn to comply and will have to make your own way in the world as an entrepeneur, sorry.
We don’t like doing this to you but we will lose our jobs if we don’t. The Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, says this is how it should be at the moment and he should know because he has a Masters of Business Administration. He knows full well that the creative arts is a ‘lifestyle choice’ so we don’t want anyone wasting their time on that nonsense. We teachers are just doing what we are told because we once were like you. Don’t worry though, you have plenty of time to undo the institutionalised damage, you should probably be fine by the time you hit your mid 40s, with a bit of luck, fingers crossed.
Alternatively you could stay home and learn anything you could possibly imagine from a free YouTube video.
Janine is an Education Consultant and founder of Sparkt. Janine works with parents and schools to help achieve child-centered, positive change by helping to:
- Develop a truly child-centered curriculum; an individualized education program for each child in your school which is child led and developmentally appropriate.
- Deliver a purpose driven, experience based curriculum which fully engages children and draws on and develops their innate, intrinsic motivation to learn.
- Develop a just and equal environment so that all may prosper and thrive; students, parents and care givers and educators.
- Plan and develop beautiful, practical, flexible, learning spaces.
- Work from a strengths based model rather than a deficit model of education; promoting positivity, gratitude and appreciation for the beauty of our world.
- Intertwine play, imagination, creativity, questioning and thinking for oneself.
- Move from discipline to nurturing and scaffolding respectful relationships amongst all.
- Support students and educators in the discovery and development of their unique gifts and passions.
- Move towards a balanced program acknowledging the mind, body and spirit.,