Recently, there has been much coverage given to the suggestion that the school day should run until 6pm.
I have read several responses to this, none of them favourable, and today I read the opinion of Clive Smith in this paper.
Mr Smith raised the worry that most people have – where is the family time? Where, within that ludicrously long day, will people see their exhausted children?
Where will the time be for extra-curricular activities, or cuddles with your youngsters.
Unfortunately, Mr Smith lost focus by taking the opportunity to have a dig at teachers. Apparently that’s all right though, because he once ‘worked in a classroom’.
This is akin to people that try to pretend they can’t possibly be homophobic because they have ‘lots of friends who are gay’.
It was an ill-researched piece, which subsequently could not be taken seriously, and that is a shame, because Mr Smith is absolutely
right about the effects of the possible new day on our children.
Teachers work long hours, as do many people. By 7.30am most are in their classrooms preparing, and by 6pm most are leaving, ready to kiss their own kids goodnight
and to start work again at home.
Which begs the question: how on earth are they going to do the work that is necessary to ensure a high standard of education for our families, if they will not even be leaving their classrooms until approximately 9pm?
Everyone is going to suffer: the teachers, the parents, and, crucially, the children.
The relationship between parents and teachers is disintegrating because, sometimes understandably, the parents want to shoot the messenger, who happens to be stood at the classroom door.
The fault, however, lies with the government. They are creating a battleground where once there stood a playground.
People like Mr Smith, who waste their privilege of having a public platform from which to air their views, propagate the example that it’s acceptable to blame teachers.
As a parent I find this remarkably frustrating.
Teachers don’t expect the parents to roll out a glitter cannon and perform a Mexican wave each afternoon at 3pm.
However, it would be nice to acknowledge that we are all on the same side, and that our children come first.