My kids answer some questions about school
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My four kids go to three different schools which inevitably means I miss out on some important piece of information or the due date for payment on a school trip because I can’t remember who sent me what and when. I’m one of those annoying parents who don’t seem to be paying attention in class.
I’ve gone back to school myself actually (pictured above)! Our local third level institution is offering night classes in a higher diploma in digital media and design. This is my second week and so far it’s the best fun ever! It has been about 25 years since I climbed wide wooden staircases and hung out in the student cafeteria during coffee break so I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.
I’m learning stuff that I’m surprised I wasn’t taught the first time round in my degree that would have been really good to know at the time, but then maybe I was and I just wasn’t paying attention in class back then!
Anyway I did like learning, and I obviously still do, but I didn’t like everything about school, or university. I didn’t always agree with my lecturers and at times felt adrift or lonely. I think everybody goes through those patches so I was curious to find out what my kids think about school and whether they ever feel left out or different.
Once again I sat down with each child individually so they couldn’t listen to or influence one another’s replies and asked them a set of questions. My children are 16, 14 (birthday was yesterday!), 11 and 9 years old, their answers are noted by age order, from oldest to youngest.
What is the purpose of school?
- To teach us all to learn in a certain way
- To learn
- To learn
- To learn
What has been the best year of school so far and why?
- 4th year (current year in secondary school)
- 6th class (final year in primary school, two years ago) because it was stress free and fun
- 6th Class (current year) because it’s really fun and your class has all the jobs in the school
- Junior infants (first year of primary) because it was simple
What is the best part of your day? (apart from break)
- PE because I feel good afterwards
- English because it’s more relaxed and I like the things we learn
- Two o’clock because then we do all the fun things like computers, art and Sing Out Loud
- Art because it’s just so fun
What is the worst? (apart from homework)
- Maths – it’s so confusing
- Maths – it’s very boring
- 8 o’clock, because I have to wake up
- English because we get to do loads of writing
If you could change one thing about school, what would it be?
- Make it a shorter day
- No homework
- Make it later in the day
- Make art the only subject
What school rules would you change?
- You would be allowed to leave school in your PE gear, you wouldn’t have to wear brown socks, no homework on the weekends, be allowed on the secret stairs, not get detention if you forget your student card and there are definitely more.
- I wish you could download things onto your ipad besides school work
- I would like to be allowed into the ditches at the bottom of the field because it’s really fun
- Be allowed in the ditches because there are things there I’d like to play with like a sword, a hurl, a shovel and an empty coke bottle
What would differences do you imagine the schools in the future will have?
- They probably won’t have any books and will have escalators instead of stairs
- Doubt there will still be teachers and you can do it all from home
- More technology
- There will be a pool in the school and museums and zoos and aquariums so that you have more looking lessons and less learning lessons
How are schools different now that in the past?
- You can buy lunch and there’s central heating
- The curriculum has changed
- Girls can go to school
- There used to be one bike and the first person to run and get the bike at the end of the day could ride it home. People brought milk to drink and eggs to eat.
What is your favourite subject?
- English – I get to take a break from speaking Irish (he goes to an all Irish/Gaeilge speaking school)
- Art or PE
Design a school
- There would be a lot more practical subjects, more theatre like drama, art and dance, one day a week you don’t have to wear a uniform, you can have lunch cards.
- There would be no homework, no mock exams or Junior certificate, classes would be more physical and you would have more subject choices. If you are not good at one you’d be allowed to drop it so that you can focus more on your strengths.
- I would make sure there is a hall for PE. The tables would have storage for books like in the old fashioned desks.
- It would be lavender coloured with black stripes going down it, big circular windows. The inside would be dark blue with light-up stars. the carpet would be black and white chequered. The roof would be orange!
Have you ever felt lonely of left out?
- No, except for one time
- In first year of secondary school one of my friends was writing the names of all the girls in her friend group up on the board and another girl rubbed my name out
- At the start of the year in secondary school I didn’t know anyone except for one person
- My friends walked off without me
- Everybody picked to go with another girl and not me
What did you do about it?
- Nothing at first, if they are going to be nasty it’s their problem. Eventually I told her she was doing things that were unkind and she left me alone after that.
- I considered leaving school but after a while I got to know others.
- I went and sat on my own and other people joined me after a while.
- I tried not to cry and then one of my friends came over and said sorry.
What about you, do you have fond memories of school or are they best relegated to the dusty recesses of your banana-beslimed school bag? Did you absolutely hate PE (like me) because your mum wouldn’t let you shave your legs? Or maybe you never even left school, you loved it so much you went back and became a teacher? What school rules would you change?
This is the next post in a series of interviews with my kids, you can read my previous interviews here:
- I ask my kids some questions about friendship
- I ask my kids some questions about living on a deserted island
- I ask my kids some questions about the future
- I ask my kids some questions about our trip to the USA
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