STATE EDUCATION – WORSE THAN USELESS

Dear **** (class ‘tutor’.

This is just a short note confirming that my son has been ill with tonsilitis and a respiratory infection during the past two weeks or so, which is why he has been absent from school since Monday March 8th.

It has been quite out of the question for any child in the condition he was to attend school as much of the time he was in a state of complete incapacity, unable to do anything.

I have already telephoned informing the school six times and been the recipient of two calls from the school, so it does seem slightly unnecessary to have to also write this note, but I’m sure that if I don’t there will be even more aggravation from the school.

It has already appeared that my endless telephone calls explaining my son’s illness have been insufficient to satisfy the school’s voracious appetite for generating bureaucracy – which I find outstandingly irritating and I am disappointed the school should waste so much time devoted to utter nonsense rather than devote it’s resources to educating the children.

I am really annoyed about it and if I had the freedom of choice derived from adequate personal finances, there is no doubt whatsoever that I would instantly send my son to a more adequate school, as I am beginning to see that the **** School is considerably less than adequate.

I have mentioned to you before that all the enthusiasm my son had for attending his new secondary school has been entirely knocked out of him by the poor ethos and teaching standards of the school which he has articulated very clearly to me.

Although this resulted in a meeting with Mr ****, this matter was entirely ignored while the discussion was centred only around my son’s poor homework record and a suggested solution of my son attending the after school ‘homework club’.

It is perfectly clear to me that this poor homework record of my son is due to teaching staff evading the traditional model of their responsibility for overseeing homework by imagining that their responsibilities for homework begin and end with posting information about homework on the school website. Then applying a sort of superstitious mystique of using silly contorted bureaucrat-speak language to call homework ‘independent learning’, and that this then is used to absolve teachers of their traditional duty to oversee homework properly.

My son is continuously unclear about what homework has been set and tells me little or nothing appears to be said about it by teachers in class except curt instructions to find it on the website, and he then finds the information about it on the website vague and unintelligible, as I do. There is an obvious lack of proper communication as it is imagined that simply posting verbiage on a website can be considered adequate teaching communication. It is not.

If the pupils were told in class ‘write this essay or do these maths calculations etc’. This is your homework to be handed in at the end of the week and if it isn’t it is your fault or your parent’s fault and you will be in trouble and punished accordingly, homework would be simple to understand for pupil and parents.

At present it just comes across to me as an incomprehensible muddle and I, as a parent, have been completely thwarted in all my considerable attempts to get any homework done at all because I have no adequate information to be able to sit my son down every day and say do that homework.

It is that lack of information about homework from teachers and the confabulation and muddled verbiage contained on the website which conspire to bury homework in in-penetrable bureaucratic chaos and hide it away from both pupil and parent.

Then, it seems to me that teachers fail, utterly, to make understandable demands on the pupils to hand in homework in the simple, understandable, traditional way.

Instead, I get the impression that the school imagines my son’s homework is entirely a parent’s responsibility – responsible for finding it, then telling the child what the homework actually is after puzzling over thousands of words of meaningless bureaucratic, incomprehensible language which serve only to hide the actual homework instruction.

The net result of this ludicrous ‘system’ of homework is that my continuous enquiries to my son as to what homework has been set and is required of him result in complete vagueness from him as he is unable to give me any clear answers – ever – and so any efforts I attempt to make to ensure he sits down at home and completes homework is comprehensibly thwarted. This would not be the case with the traditional model of homework.

Frankly, I am very, very fed up up with it.

A parent’s role in home work is simply confined to asking the child what it is and then making sure the child sits down and does it, with the parent offering the child a degree of assistance if required.

My experience of the ***** School ‘Independent Learning’ so far is that it is designed to completely thwart any parent’s efforts to make sure homework is done in the traditional manner. This unsatisfactory homework system also encourages the natural tendencies of children to be idle and use every method at their disposal to avoid doing homework.

In the absence of a traditional ‘class teacher’ I am quite unsure of who I am supposed to contact in matters such as this, and cannot derive the slightest clue from the school website, despite the tens of thousands of words in the myriad documents randomly scattered throughout the website. But I can only presume you might be the correct person as your title is ‘Tutor’.

Yours Sincerely,

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