Today was a bit of an eye-opener.
I am in my daughters' school for a short period on most days, doing some voluntary work. Discipline and behaviour in our school - compared to others - are generally very good indeed.
I don't know whether the windy weather which has seen off our Indian Summer was to blame, but some of the children were practically bouncing off the walls today....
One child who had perpetrated a particularly heinous act was reprimanded very sternly by the Head, and I have to say, I felt scared listening to that reprimand, and I was in a different room and had done nothing wrong !
I do feel sorry for the staff, who have to deal with many children whose parents take no interest in the children at all, don't read with them, don't make sure they do their homework,or read their school reading book.
In one class, at least half of the parents seem to show no interest in their children at all. And it is not because the parents are too busy working to make ends meet, it is because the parents live a life on unemployment benefits and frankly don't care about anything except their "rights" to unearned money and an easy lifestyle. The more kids you have, the more state benefit you can rake in. Some of the parents certainly don't care about the physical safety of their offspring; some of the five year olds are roaming the streets in mini-gangs at 9pm at night, even when it is dark.
The staff have to pick up the pieces when these children fall further and further and further behind their classmates.
Even more worrying, there are children entering Nursery aged 3 and 4 who are frankly almost feral. Some have absolutely no concept of being nice, taking turns, how to eat with a knife and fork, how to get dressed, toilet themselves and wash their hands adequately. All these things have to be taught to many children. Quite what the parents are doing I don't know, but it is obviously not bringing up their kids.
Dealing with biting, kicking, punching, shoving others out of the way and kids screaming abuse are everyday events for the staff, who make heroic efforts to instill some semblance of civilised behaviour into these children's lives.
You couldn't pay me to do their job, I tell you.
And this is life in a middle-class small town. The situation in Blogtown, a short distance away, is infinitely worse.
Just imagine what some of these kids could be like by the time they are sixteen..........I dread to think.