"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The other side of the coin

Today we did a computer software fair at a local primary school and met some very pleasant, hard working, committed teachers and an especially nice headteacher, which made a very welcome change from our experiences yesterday. (Sorry, I forgot - that was only a fairy story!)
The wide variety of atmosphere and ethos in schools always intrigues me. You can usually get a good idea of what a school is like as soon as you go into the building. The common giveaways are the attitude of the secretary and headteacher, the friendliness or otherwise of staff as they pass you by on the way to wherever and, very importantly, the behaviour and attitude of the children.
There are schools which are like an educational version of the Ideal Homes Exhibition, which look very impressive but give the impression that everything is there for effect and the children have very little to do with it and, at the other end of the scale, there are those which have that 'lived in' look but are very 'hands on.'
Today's school was the latter, an old Victorian building, not very well maintained and definitely with a lived in look, but the staff were friendly and determined to make our visit as much of a success as they could. The headteacher made coffee for us when we arrived to set up - how impressive is that?
If I were still teaching, that is one school I would be happy to work in.


Terri said...

Sounds wonderful. I agree with the attitudes of the schools. I taught art for two years before I went back to charter a year and a half ago. I would go to a different school each day, five days a week and each school was so different. And what I really noticed is the attitude of the children was different as the school was different. It was very interesting. You'd think all 5th graders were alike but it was a huge difference. Schools 10-15 miles apart could be so different and so were the students in them. It was the most interesting observation. And, it is interesting you have made a similar observation there.

Elin said...

Today,here in Iceland, teachers were summoned back to schools by force of law set in our version of parliament. They had been on strike for 7 weeks and all talks are deadlocked. Their pay is disgustingly low. I hope they all quit and refuse to teach until they are awarded the salary they deserve.

Jennyta said...

Here in Britain it's not so much the pay that's the problem but the workload and the constant changes that have been imposed over the past 20 odd years! Good luck to your teachers - I hope they get the salary rise they deserve!


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