Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Education

I felt inspired after last nights chat to talk a little about about my education with all the usual cravats about internet postings when it comes to online security.
The first school I went to was in a Country district in a really old building Victorian no doubt set up when the powers that be decided we all needed a bit of an education  with formally separate girls and boys  doors that we had to line up by at the start of day, during recesses and depart through in the afternoons.
It was made from brick, had outdoor toilets and a big playground that we'd mark up for hopscotch plus a field for games.
Classrooms would no doubt shock some today and have others calling for their retention as they were locked very much in the era of the building, with one for each year group.
At the front of each classroom near a window stood a old big wooden desk where you teacher sat with a clear view of the entire class and half a view to the classroom door where the Head Teacher would look through from time to time which was a pretty powerful incentive to be good.
The rest of the room had shelves for reference type books for our year as we didn't have a proper school library then but the biggest difference compared with schools shortly after I left was with the seating arrangements.
The classroom had rows of separate wooden desks (like the picture above) with lids that lifted up to get your exercise books out, a compartment for your writing equipment and an inkwell. Yes really an inkwell cos in year 4 and above you were expected to write in cursive writing in ink, refilling your pen as you went along.
We also were taught written and spoken French from a very early age which is very useful.
I think ours were made from polished and varnished pine as were the chairs.
You had a fixed table position in alternating girl, boy fashion which I suppose was really to encourage the boys to pay attention but in my case lead to much whispering!
Anyone not paying attention would be called out and if you persisted then you'd be punished in class or sent to the Head Teacher returning with a red face and more than just hurt pride.
Although I had bullying issues there, I liked the school a lot not least for what seemed like endless games of rounders but I transferred to another school building  so I had to learn all about where everything was all over again!
This new school was well brand spanking new with bigger grounds and a library so I had to learn the Dewey classification system and how to book out books I wanted to read and it also had its own kitchen which my old school didn't have (they bought in meals to warm up and serve in a community hall instead).
The first major difference was we didn't have form classrooms, but area - they called them Home Bays - that we'd start out from moving to different parts of the building for science for instance and that this school was open plan. I think part of idea was to encourage to go do stuff for ourselves and earn the respect for being able to do it without as was the case at my first school being stood over all day.
They had these half hexagonal tables that we did work on that were supposed to help with group work but we just kept giggling between ourselves most of time, especially when like my friend and I we'd forgotten our PE kit so we were meant to be doing extra classwork with another teacher popping in to keep an eye on us!!!
The noise at times was problem so much so that everyone had to reminded to talk quietly and the younger ones got screens put in to keep their screaming out of our ears as we struggled with long division (and I still do)!
We did a lot of music, recorder groups, plus playing with triangles, Xylophones, drums, glockenspiels and so on as either performances or in all school year assemblies. The assemblies at my first school were much instructions, worship and public admonishment sessions all in one.
Usually in the late mornings our year teacher would do a storytime for us reading books like Emil and the Detectives aloud and we'd talk about the adventures as a group work.
It was a good school but I felt it lacked some structure that could lead some astray as much it was nice to feel trusted going about your independent learning.

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