Last weekend Nic and I went back to our old school for Open Day. We really went to see my mum who is a teacher there – she’d had an emotionally draining week and we thought she could use some support. Plus, we missed our reunion last month and figured it could be interesting to see how the school’s changed. And it was interesting. And weird.
The primary school is now bigger than the secondary school, there are dozens of new teachers, there are classrooms and music rooms in what was the boarding house, and the boarding house… the boarding house is now the unit block next door and the old hospital across the street. My mum is teaching out of a timber house that – when I was at school – was someone’s HOME. The school is slowly absorbing all its neighbours and I find that slightly alarming.
Something else that alarms me is the idea that running a school is like running a business. And maybe it is (silly me). But I find it unsettling that keeping the budget in check, making profitable investments and pleasing stakeholders might be the school’s top priority. That their main aim is to make the school look attractive to wealthy parents so they can keep the money rolling in. Not to mention the social prestige. It may only be a few morons at the top who think this way but it inevitably trickles down in subtlest of ways and changes the heart of the school.
Not my mum though. At the risk of sounding like a wanker I’d call her proper ‘old school’. She’s there for the kids – to teach and nurture and encourage them whether they’re in her class or not. She genuinely loves the kids and they love her right back. And even though I’m not too fond of children myself, I can see what a beloved teacher she is and have the utmost respect for her and what she does in that old timber house. Educating future generations and making a positive impact in their formatve years is so, so important.
The passage of time is a funny old thing. Some things get caught up in it and end up almost unrecognisable. And other things are so deeply entrenched that they’re never likely to change. And it’s got me rambling about the old days and being reflective. Must be time to bake some pretzels for Burfit.