Friday, 6 November 2009

Same Old, Same Old

I was thinking at gym this morning, how amazingly patient our teacher is: every week there are new members and she has to explain from scratch everything that is involved and all the way through the hour-long lesson she encourages and helps us and explains exactly which muscle groups we are using etc. etc. Of course, this is what all good teachers do. It used to drive me nuts though: one year I had six grade 8 classes and 2 grade 9s, 13 - 15 year olds, about 36 in a class and many sharing desks - and I had to teach the same lessons over and over again in the same week. I fear that those that came to me towards the end of the week got a bit of a raw deal. God forbid that I should be given the same classes the following year. I would have gone mad. I hate routine - once I thought I was losing my mind when for a short period I rebelled against getting up in the morning and going to bed at night! In those days we got one free period a day (if we were lucky). I compare this to the ridiculously idealistic situations in movies where the teacher devotes herself to one particular class - apparently her only class that day - and changes them from street ruffians into model citizens. What was the name of that one with Michelle Pfeiffer? There have been others since. I cannot imagine how awful it must be to teach today. At least then we were allowed a modicum of disciplinary measures. I wonder what the future holds. Our government is already looking at plans to revise our newly-revised education system as the latest one is proving itself disastrous. Hopefully, the wheel will turn back to the good old days of the 3 Rs and most adults will again have a basic level of literacy. We now have a lot of private schools in South Africa - all with enormously huge fees and a big non-refundable deposit up front. The teachers there are so concerned with ‘keeping bums on seats’, they have to be especially nice to the children so that parents don’t remove them from the school.

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