Schools…

Jack currently goes to one of the so-called “affordable” private schools, where I believed he would get a better standard of education and be encouraged to learn to think, and express himself, rather than to learn by rote and comform to the whims of society. We are not rich, we struggle to pay the fees, but I thought Jack at least deserved the oportunity to get a good education and with it good prospects in the workplace.

I guess I was wrong about that school. It has reneged on all 3 of its promises, namely:

1) to accelerate Year 7s into Year 8 a term early, so that by Year 12 the students will be able to reap the benefit of having an extra 3 months to prepare for their final exams;

2) that the school has a strict “No Bullying” policy, with strict expulsion rules for any student caught bullying. Jack has been the subject of bullying at that school since Year 7. He is now in Year 8, and not one of the bullies has been suspended or expelled;

3) streaming would happen after the Year 7 NAPLAN exams. This has not happened.

The school also has in its employment some of the most narrow-minded people, who dare call themselves “teachers”. One of these is very young, in her mid-to late 20s, and gives teachers a bad name. She hasn’t a clue how to enrich her students’ minds. She only knows perhaps what she herself was taught, and that is not much, I’m afraid.

Schools are supposed to be where young people are free to explore, question and therefore learn about the world. But instead, what I see happening only too often is that students are brainwashed into learning by rote, have drilled into them what Society says they should know, be discouraged to ask questions that may break with convention, and be trained instead to become mere robotic drones to replace their older robotic drone counterparts i.e their parents’ generation. Any active “Thought” is quashed or derided. We must all colour within the lines, and only use the colours we are given. 

Am I right, or am I right?

I’m a non-conformist, and proud of it. There is nothing to be ashamed of, by being the black sheep of the flock. No, scrap that idea – I am NOT a sheep, not even the proverbial black one. I am the Wolf in sheep’s clothing. As little children we’ve been taught to “Beware the Wolf in sheep’s clothing”. However, the older I get, the more I believe that the Wolf wears sheep’s clothing NOT so it can attack and devour the sheep without being discovered. But because it’s Camouflage. It’s the Wolf’s way of blending in and passing off as a normal sheep, when in actual fact it is much, much more than a sheep. 

I have great respect for these human Wolves, who have to live among these Sheeple. They are the game changers, the great thinkers, the movers and shakers. They are the ones who dare question “The way things have always been” and”tradition”. They dare oppose the status quo, the very tenets that the majority of Sheeple follow blindly. They are the ones who dare declare that the Emperor is butt-naked, while everyone else is busy licking boots.

Naturally, being such a Wolf isn’t ever going to be the popular option. First, you need to Wake Up and realise that the Life you thought you had all mapped out is actually what Society has decided should be the path you take. My own father dearly wanted me to become a doctor, like my brother. Damn, he’s soooo disappointed in how I turned out! 😄

But anyway, I wanted to talk about Jack’s school today. Last year, he had an English assignment on “Sustainable Living” and chose to do a presentation on the benefits of growing Hemp instead of trees. His English teacher, she who must not be named (and shamed), pooh-poohed and belittled his idea, saying “You can’t talk about Hemp, it’s illegal, and besides, everyone will laugh at you”. I kid you not, those were her exact words.

This year, that same teacher is teaching RAVE (religious ed). And she set a Holiday Assignment for her Year 8s, whereby the students have to volunteer at a charity and write up about it. What’s wrong with that?

Well, several things.

1) it’s the School Holidays. Many families take the opportunity to go abroad for their holidays. Parents have worked hard and saved up to pay for this family holiday, and have anticipated it for months… and instead some trumped up wannabe “teacher” expects them to waste their precious time approaching charities to ask if their child could volunteer for a few hours there? How about respecting the students’ right to a break from doing anything school related during the “school holidays”?

2) charities have set procedures and regulations for taking on volunteers. You can’t simply fetch up, put on an apron, roll up your sleeves and get to work. There are Occupational Health & Safety issues, and there’s also the small matter of Insurance. There might also be a waiting list or period.

3) there’s a minimum age restriction for most, if not all charities, for taking on volunteers. It’s usually 16 or even 18 years of age. Any minors will have to be accompanied and supervised by their own parents. Otherwise, the alternative would be for the school to communicate with the charity and arrange for its students to participate in a day’s worth of volunteering. Certainly Year 8s, who are merely 13 or 14, would not be able to simply volunteer. 

4) this teacher only gave hard copies of the Assignment, printed on 3 sides of A4 paper, to 5 out of her 16 students in the class. How she “forgot” about the rest, we will never know. But the fact is – those 5 privileged students have had 3 whole extra weeks to prepare for this Assignment, whereas the other 11 were only handed the papers last Friday, with the Assignment due in 2 weeks’ time. How is this fair for All students?

I’m writing all this down because I intend to write a strongly worded formal letter of complaint to the School’s Principal. In my experience, rather than deal with the issue at hand, such establishments will close ranks and instead make a scapegoat out of the person who dare complain or go against them. 

That doesn’t bother me one jot. I’d rather Jack goes to a school that’s less prestigious, (and less obsessed about their uniform attire standards!), but that allows their students more freedom of thought and expression. A school where Thinking is actually allowed, and encouraged. I’m not expecting Jack’s school to change its outlook or principles, but I will have it on record that a parent did object to the way they’re “educating” tomorrow’s leaders. 

This graphic below (that Jack himself showed to me on Google) expresses exactly what is wrong with today’s schools. 

Jack is my little Wolf in the making. And I’m very proud of him. 

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