Wednesday 16 July 2014

'Please find enclosed...'

I see this letter to the pupils in a primary school (scroll down for the full text)  has 'gone viral' - presumably because people think it's wonderful, inspiring, etc. How times change. When I was at primary school, if we'd received a letter like that from the head we'd have concluded, when we'd recovered from the shock, that either (a) he was playing some kind of sick joke on us, or (b) he'd finally succumbed to the catastrophic mental breakdown that never seemed far away. If it had come from him, though, it would at least have been grammatically correct.
 Still, we seemed to do well enough without any such patronising morale-boosters. Most of us came out of that state-run primary school - where average class size was around 50 - highly literate and numerate and with a better knowledge of many things (including grammar) than today's average graduate. In those days, teachers - taking their cue from the job title - were still in the business of teaching stuff. It worked.


  1. I fear we may have sold the pass already Nige. I was berating my Headmaster as I am wont to do the other day, for I'm a teacher in a private secondary school, on the lack of a properly literate culture in the school. His immortal reply in writing via email: "I fear most of our pupils will not take to grammar or literacy." Intelligent man, fee-paying school with reasonably bright kids.

  2. This story just hit the news websites in the U.S. I was relieved to find that about half of the commenters regard it as limp nonsense.

  3. Lord, that's dispiriting, Guy!
    Better news from Waldonymous though.
    Head 'teachers' do appear to be Part of the Problem...

  4. Guy is right, Nige, this train has left the station. My wife teaches grade four in a small private grade school and I am astounded at the time she must spend dealing with parents who seem to have only a passing concern about achievement and learning but who are fixated on whether their child is happy, socially popular, bored, etc.. They expect the teachers to address these issues on an ongoing basis, at least the North Americans, Brits and Europeans do. Some of the kids have parents from the old third world who tend not to care a whit whether their child is happy or not, they want to know how they are doing academically. Guess who wins the prizes.