The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The twelve year olds I teach have been very earnestly and seriously discussing how to run their ideal school. The old predictable favourites are there - remove traditional means of punishment, abandon pointlessly restrictive rules, reintroduce enjoyment to the curriculum (yeah, how about that, Mr Blair?), reverse the power relationship with authoritarian figures. Some are new. And I have to say, Alisha's one about free food on Fridays is such a nice idea that it's only beaten by Kimberley's left-field observation that all teachers should find a new career at the age of thirty.

The Ideal School for a twelve year old:

• Own clothes, but in school colours
• A tie should still exist, but wear it round your waist, like a belt
• Teachers are there to help and serve the kids, not to rule us
• Only the 5 nice teachers can stay, the rest are sacked
• Teachers are paid, but only a little
• Teachers have to leave when they hit the age 30
• While at school, teachers are hypnotised so they will be our slaves / waitresses or cooks
• Teachers can relax because there is only one homework a week
• We need a leisure centre with a swimming pool and a gym to stop our teachers getting so stressed
• No homework
• No detentions for kids, only for teachers
• School lasts three or four hours, and lessons are only 30 minutes
• School to start at 10.30am, and finish at 3pm, with a half day on Fridays
• We only have the lessons we want
• Breaks to be much longer
• Free lunch on Fridays
• Everything at the tuck shop will be 35p
• Kids can bring mobiles to school, and use them to text during lessons, but not to make calls
• No violence allowed
• No snobs or snitches can come to our school
• Someone needs to guard the gates and all the doors of the school all day
• School is full of fun
• Kids are allowed to bring pets into school
• Vote on who runs the school
• Tell the teachers it is a science experiment, to trick them into going along with the plan
• Don’t let teachers go home until they are on our side