May. 21st, 2012

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I don't read the education section of the news website much any more, since I stopped working at the university. Today I did and was kind of annoyed to see a giant box encouraging you to compare your local schools in a league table. My own alma mater is slowly on the up, having got over a third of pupils getting A-C GCSE's this year, but it's still lurking in the nether regions of the table, though it is a perfectly good school. I was reading about how people look down their noses and lock up their valuables when The Manor kids go past their front doors. I remember that feeling from when I was at school, the kind of drawing away when you told folk where you lived and where you went to school, and the way their impression of you instantly went from vaguely competent and helpful if young to cunning, bizarre monkey-person as they slowly retreat to recount the spoons. (And The Manor performs a good 50% better than my old school). I think this kind of thing is one of the most distasteful things about English society. I guess it annoys me because I'm still quite insecure about where I am, and you always have this feeling in the back of your head that folk with alien things like alpomb, grace, good breeding, effortless joi de vivre, confidence, and dexterity are going to come breezing in at any moment and kick you back down again.

Aldabra mentioned how her kid's new secondary school were asking what her intended career was which made me laugh. I remember on my first day at University when we were talking about intended careers, we went round the table and a young lass said she intended to be Lord Chancellor. I burst out laughing and spluttered everywhere and she took an instant dislike to me, thinking the ridiculousness of that ambition to me at the time was because she was female whereas in reality, I wan't sure of, or particularly interested in, the exact boundaries between the House of Lords and light Comic Opera.

There are few places in this world where an eighteen year old of any model of genetalia can sincerely say that they intend to become Lord Chancellor, and I kind of like Cambridge that it's one of those places, but it does kind of mean that I feel that I'll never belong here.

My own career ambitions as a child were: Horse, Pit Deputy, Metallurgist, Deputy Stage Manager, Laboratory Technician, Cosmetics Chemist.

The first three of those I was told, in rapid succession, wouldn't be possible in the brave new world of the 1980s so, to be honest, I just wanted a job after that, really.

(I love the sole sentence covering standards in the covering letter to my school's OFSTED report: "a wide range of lessons were observed during the insepction and most were satisfactory").

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