One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. ~Carl Jung
I was in the Past Times shop recently in Shrewsbury and the Eleven-Plus Book caught my eye. Genuine exam questions from yesteryear (what a lovely word yesteryear). I purchased the book recently on a whim and partly because my middle grand-daughter is eleven and now goes to High School in a local market town. (All secondary schools are called High Schools in Wales but in my day high schools were for the very bright indeed),
Maybe I wanted to see if all the girls would be able to answer the questions, it might be a good test of standards nowadays? I did buy the book for S but still have it - she will get it but I haven’t got round to reading it yet. Truth to tell though am I perhaps nervous at peeking at those kind of questions again? Will I struggle with long division and the like? (Yes!)
There were different exams set by different Exam Boards dependent upon where you lived. I went to school in South London and from the age of eight I was lucky enough to go to an excellent junior school. Before that I had been to an inferior school in an area not too far away but we had moved house so I changed schools. As always, teaching is down to the quality of the teachers and I struck gold with Miss Bray (I think I have blogged about her before). She was dedicated, round, gentle and kindly and she cared. I was a bit of a lost and vulnerable child and she brought me out of myself a wee bit so I have a great deal to thank her for. She would have been called a spinster in those days. Remember that word? Bit of an insult don’t you think, I hate labelling. Come to think of it I was taught by many ‘spinsters’ at my grammar school, I guess married women gave up work in those days. For reasons I won’t bore you with I escaped an Irish Catholic education and from what I hear from friends and relatives who had one I am not too sad about it.
I’m digressing again.
Back in those mists of yesteryear I passed the eleven-plus and to be honest (again) I just loved the kind of questions we were set. I had been well prepared, I loved challenges and loved words; not too good on the maths though but I knew my tables and I could add up and take away (what more do you need? - be honest now) so I must have got by in the arithmetic section.
M is relaying the radio’s news to me, he is listening to the Today programme. I have given up watching TV news and even avoid Today lately, preferring to scribble or read a novel. I must say my blood pressure has lowered dramatically. What M is telling me is old news in fact, the plans for all people mixing with children, even volunteers or visitors to schools to have to be CRB checked. And people like authors on school visits will have to pay (£80?) to be checked! I know a couple of well known writers whose names I have forgotten have declined to do any more school visits which is such a great loss to the children involved.
This often-used phrase spills from my mouth:
The world has gone mad..
Do you know anyone who hasn’t used this phrase? I don’t. I sometimes feel we are being invaded and under siege by an army of bureaucrats. God help us. Just another nail in the coffin. I know police checks have to be carried out on those who work with children. I had one myself when I worked with them, in some jobs it is necessary but these people who sit in offices take everything to extremes. Most child abuse takes place in the home in any case. Extremism is something we should avoid - don’t you think it is the cause of most of the world’s troubles? There should always be a place for compromise and good old common sense. (where has common sense gone?).
My brother told me that he was taking his wife’s cousin round South London recently on the heritage trail, the cousin was over from South Africa after many years away from the UK, he had left when he was a child. They pulled up in the car outside his old school and the cousin pulled out his camera to take a pic for posterity. Before my brother could say that would not go down well a teacher was making her way across the playground and admonishing them. My brother explained the situation and voiced his doubts of any contravention of any actual law.
What is the world coming to?
Another well-worn phrase spills from me.
I am not ranting, I am far too happy to rant today. The sunny weather we have been having has revived me as it has the flowers in the garden; they are all bursting forth again and it is such a joy. The sun is shining brightly and it is set fair for the weekend and please God, beyond.
Blessings are in order.
Last night’s moonlight.
Today’s sun on the water.
The grass which has been cut by M yesterday, his first chance for weeks and it was getting near knee high.
Wild Life in all its many forms.
Bless the birds and the bees, the garden is alive with both today. And I saw three wild ducks (mallards) fishing in our river, ducking and diving as they do. They don’t visit often but I get really excited when they do. I’m sure they were two parents teaching the young one how to fish (like the otters do with their young sometimes). We have a really deep pool area in the river now which appeared after the Great Flood - I had visions of the girls swimming in there this summer but alas it has not been hot enough.
My fuchsias and montbretia which remind me of my roots in the best place in the world, the south west of Ireland.
Talking of roots I have been found on the Ancestry website by a relative who descends from an Irish couple who emigrated to London way back in yesteryear - we share a branch in our trees. He lives in Canada and without the Ancestry site he would not have found me. So this will be a final blessing along with the family search.org site or LDS as some folk call it (I do). If you are interested in doing your family tree these two sites are brilliant. Ancestry is very well worth the subscription and you can access its records free in all UK libraries. LDS is free.
Well I have rattled on a bit again.
I’d best be off and get the day started.
May yours be a happy one.
Go mbeannai Dia duit,