The children were asked what would make a perfect school and I thought how different a school could be depending on who was asked.
If I was a child my perfect school would be one where all my mates were. I’d be allowed to play and chat whenever I wanted to. There would be no homework and the lessons would be interesting. I would like to be top in my class at everything but if I couldn’t be I wouldn’t want to be laughed at. I also wouldn’t want my teacher to shout or sneer at me. I’d like a decent lunchtime with nice food and then enough time to play. I’d like my school to be nearby so I didn’t have to spend all my time on buses. I’d like longer summer holidays and fewer exams. As I get older I’d like the teachers to notice and stop treating me like a baby and appreciate that my hormones are absolutely out of control, as is my ability to be awake at 9.00 a.m. Finally, when I pass all my exams I want people to say “well done” not “exams are easier these days”
If I was a teacher my ideal school would be one where I was valued. My boss would support me and back me up as would my staff. I would be well paid to reflect how important what I do is and I wouldn’t be mocked for always being “on holiday”. When I entered a classroom it would be great if there was silence, it would be lovely to have a class of students ready to learn. It would also be nice to know if my students could speak English or if they had been moved care homes the night before. It would be nice not be called a “stupid b**ch,” it would be even nicer that, if the name calling was reported, that disciplinary action might take place.
I’d really love to be able to teach a subject the way that I knew worked. I’m sure I would get very fed up at having to take on a new teaching style every two years to reflect a new government policy. It would also be great if the examination system could just stay the same. I’d also not like to be judged by double standards, if my pupils fail an exam that’s my fault but if they pass an exam then the system’s too easy.
If I was a parent I would like my child to leave school believing that they could rule the world if they wanted to. I would want them to look back at school as a happy and enjoyable time; I would also want them to have learnt useful and interesting things. It seems that it’s too much to ask but if they have a cookery lesson I would like them to learn how to cook rather than how to assemble a salad and design a wrapper for a pasty. I wouldn’t want my child to be so stressed by the idea of failing to get 30 A* GCSEs that they can’t sleep night after night. I wouldn’t want my child to see drugs in their school and teachers being sworn at
I would want them to be safe from intimidation from other pupils and I would not want my child to come home to tell me how much their teacher shouts at the whole class the whole time. I’d like them to do more games and sports and more homework. I’d like the school to keep in touch with me and let me know how my child was doing. I’d also want the school to have greater power to dismiss bad teachers before they ruined my child’s brief stay at school.
The one thing in common would be that whoever I was, teacher, child or parent I would want to be treated with respect and I would behave accordingly.