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Schools Aren't What They Used To Be

Dec 24, 2007
I accompanied my daughter and grandson for his first day at school last September. In his smart new uniform, just a touch too big, he looked perfectly edible. His polished shoes and little white socks finished off the look. He is going to the school that me and my daughter made our own in our time.

And that is where the similarity ends. Walking into the school hall to find out who his teacher would be, I see the beautiful old highly polished parquet flooring has been ripped up and replaced with some 'safe' rubberised, non slip creation. Practical, they call it, but it doesn't smell the same.

We wait patiently for the head teacher to announce whose class everyone is in but it doesn't happen. They have employed the use of an overhead projector installation and this flickers into life near on blinding me!

I look to my grandson who is overawed by the bright light and thinks it's great! Not the same, if you ask me. Rows of children's names are projected onto the wall below teacher's names and class numbers. I can see this does remove the confusion of some people not being able to hear, or missing their child's name being called, but it's not very personal.

Anyway, off he trots to his class. He settles in quickly and my daughter reports that he is now coming on leaps and bounds. Easter is coming up and we have been invited to his school to watch a demonstration by the children about what they have learnt so far. We are also invited to have a look around the school.

It will be nice for me and my daughter to see our old classrooms again. I'll be reminiscing about the time we hurled paper planes at the back of the supply teachers head while he was working on the blackboard. He was always an easy target. I remember one boy getting brave one day and tried this same joke out on the maths teacher.

I swear that teacher had eyes in the back of his head. He spun round as quickly as anything and that blackboard rubber went flying across the room to make contact with little Johnny's left ear! You could see how hard he was trying not to cry and we did laugh at him but, to be honest, we did feel a little sorry for him. He was only trying to entertain us.

On the way to the school, I am relating these tales to my daughter and my grandson asks what a blackboard is. Laughing, my daughter says they replaced those long ago with white boards and felt pens. It can't have been the same for a teacher to throw a soft cloth at someone instead of those hard, wooden rubbers.

Arriving at the school, my grandson, now in the same school trousers that are already at half mast, is proud to show us around. He shows us around the classrooms and each room has been equipped with an overhead projector installation. I now see the benefit! The teacher gets to face the class whilst writing and demonstrating. Gone are the days of paper aeroplanes, and any other projectile that comes to hand.

We move on to the school hall and I see a teacher young enough to be my daughter scowling at my killer heels on the rubberised floor. Health and safety my eye - has this young girl never heard of fashion over function?

My grandson steps up onto the stage for his part of the demonstration. It's all he can do to reach the overhead projector but you can see how pleased he is with himself when his childish handwriting appears on the wall. That's the only time that's ever going to happen, states my daughter.
About the Author
Expert teacher Shaun Parker looks into the practicality of projector installation in schools. To find out more please visit http://www.avssltd.com/
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