Even the classroom set up, with anything up to 33 pupils and the teacher, seems to suggest that ‘lonely’ is not an appropriate adjective.
However, teachers will tell you that once that classroom door is shut, it is possible to sense a quite disorientating isolation. What is happening next door? Why does Mr Blogs never have any problems with this class? Do my colleagues teach this topic like this, and if not, why not? Am I doing right?
The conclusions reached in the recent report of the Commission on School Reform (By Diverse means: Improving Scottish Education) began with Montaigne’s words.
It’s an obvious, but nevertheless crucial, observation, especially in the field of education. One summary point elaborated:
“The autonomy of schools should be greatly extended. As a general principle, decisions that can competently be taken at school level should not be taken elsewhere.”
That is, through personnel, facilities or time, the pupils don’t receive enough Physical Education to affect their fitness.
Through the window, I could see, sweeping down to the Forth, a large area of ground, partly filled by high end housing, and partly vacant.
In the middle of my teaching career, this had been the site of Dunfermline College of Physical Education. Most of Scotland’s female PE teachers trained there, whilst their male counterparts were at Jordanhill College.
They were small stones, and not much damage was done, but we were unaware that the headteacher was watching from his office. Out he came, and took the three of us back through the empty, echoing school, and gave us each two of the belt. Even at that age I was aware of a vague sense of injustice. He was a friend of my dad’s, and, by the time I got home, the message had already been phoned: “He wasn’t throwing any stones, but it’s a good lesson about the company he keeps.”
I see two middle aged deputy headteachers lurking in bushes on the fringes of an industrial estate.
I should probably explain!
Our school won a national award for health promotion. We were obviously delighted and, as for elite athletes, there followed predictable approbation and recognition.
When bidding for major sports events, the talk is generally of legacy; afterwards, the ‘L’ word fades somewhat, and it’s all about medals and success.