September – a month with so much hope and enthusiasm, as young people go back to school

Setting aside the minor issue of the autumn leaves and the lovely, slight chill that September is associated with, the big event really is children going back to school. All the enthusiasm, the hope, the aspiration and the high levels of energy is lovely to see, irrespective of rain or sunshine.

Class sizes have always been an issue in schools, particularly in the state sector. One of the key features that sets the independent schools apart is their relatively small classes. The problem we have is that, even in the so-called good schools, students who are in the top set are taught in class sizes of 30, or close to that figure, in core subjects. I have taught classes of 30 students before, and did so with pleasure. However, it was at a grammar school in Buckinghamshire. Despite the volume of work that those bright young people produced and the time it takes to mark the work, I was happy to do it. It is the behaviour management that I have very little time for.

Compulsory Education

Education is compulsory for all, and is essential for a civilised society. However, the problem is: young people come from different homes and parents have different values and not all parents value education or the teachers who are at the forefront of delivering it. The esteem to which education is held by parents feeds through the child and usually affects their behaviour in school and their attitude toward teachers. Even among parents who respect education, there is a varying degree of success in instilling those values in their children. What happens when the child is placed in a classroom environment in which the loudest person rules, is a topic that I will explore more in the future. Most teachers are well meaning and do their best to teach to a high standard, given the environment they find themselves.

This is an issue that I feel very strongly about and I will be writing more about this particular topic. Watch this space!
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Idris Mustapha