He’s a bit of a wag is The Dude. Not in a bad way. Oh no, I’m far too scary a parent to allow anything like that. I do, however, feel that we shouldn’t crush every bit of individuality and personality out of our children. I want my children to be respectful, kind and considerate, but we do have a bit of a giggle at home, and sometimes there’s a bit of banter and the odd swear, but that’s fine by me too. On the left, I present his recent protest at being asked to eat lettuce. He hates lettuce.
Since returning to school after half term, Charlie’s been on ‘lockdown’. This is basically because this particular school moves the kids up into their new school years after the May half term. So Chas is now in year 11. This year is special because it’s their GCSE year. They wear a different coloured shirt and tie and are allowed more freedom, including the right to leave the school at lunchtime. Unfortunately, since the now infamous ‘tie shredding incident‘, his punishment, along with his friends, was to have this freedom rescinded for two whole weeks. It’s actually a pretty great punishment. Allow the whole of the school year to leave the premises at lunchtime, leaving the ‘naughty’ ones behind to earn their freedom again? I get that. I totally do.
Trouble is, the policing of this ‘lockdown’ is all wrong. On the first day he came back looking less than happy. I assumed it was the enforced loss of freedom and didn’t say too much. Actions have consequences, etc and I fully support the school’s right to give punishment where it’s due. On the second day, I actually asked what was up, and it turned out that the lockdown is being enforced by them having to report to their house office EVERY TEN MINUTES. Yup, you read that right. Wherever they are and whatever they’re doing, they have to walk all the way back to a specific office to report every ten minutes.
This is all wrong. Removing a privilege if they misbehave? Totally fine. Removing their freedom and their right to a break at lunchtime, when they’re studying hard for GCSEs and working hard in class? Wrong. Ten minutes is not even enough time to queue up in the canteen and eat. Had he eaten? No. I was fuming.
I sent one of my emails. I kept it firm. I expect Charlie to be allowed a proper break to go eat, drink, read a book, revise, muck about, play football… whatever. Just as you, as a teacher, are allowed one.
The reply was a bit sarky: ‘if Charlie’s that keen on revising, he can always go to the library, where the staff there will record his presence’. Oh I didn’t like that. I didn’t like that one bit.
My reply, I feel, was firm but fair: ‘it’s not about revision. It’s about giving the kid a break, not making him perform like a trained chimp for the entire lunch period.’
That’s me off the school Christmas list, then.