What you see through a front-room window

I was walking home the other night from the chip shop and couldn’t help spotting a TV flickering through someone’s front-room window.

It was one of those 95-inch screen jobbies that you can see from space, so I was hardly snooping… anyway, that’s by the by.

Who should I see on screen but my former History teacher from school. And having Googled him, I now discover that Alex Kershaw is an author of some note and repute.

He was a talking head on one of those History Channel documentaries about WW2 from what I could tell and, even though it’s almost 20 years on, he looked very similar to how I remember him.

Alex Kershaw was one of those teachers you love as a pupil. As a sixth-former studying Contemporary History, it was pretty cool to be taught by a 24-year-old teacher almost fresh out of university with a passion for left-wing politics and bags of charisma with it.

I remember one particular trip into London to go to the Imperial War Museum when he was happy to take a few of us to the pub before the proper business of the day.

For some reason that escapes me now, the watering holes of London were left untouched, but the sentiment was there.

The moral of the story here, though, is keep an eye on people’s front room windows – you never know who you might see.

Strong feelings

I suppose you never really know how strong your feelings are for your offspring, until someone challenges them in some way.

Earlier this week’s B’s mum was called in by the nursery for a chat. It’s one of those things you hear about, but never imagine it will happen in connection with your child. Anyway, B is meant to be starting school in September, even though she will only just be 4, such is the dis/advantage of being born in August.

Anyway, the nursery emphasised how lovely B is and what a great personality she has, how intelligent she is, and what a great leader she is, before turning round and saying that they don’t think she should start school in September.

Apparently, she is too wilful and won’t do what she’s told. She only takes part in activities that she wants to, rather than the ones that the nursery want and consequently the staff haven’t been able to carry out a proper assessment on her literacy, etc.

Add to that, they don’t think she is mature enough to cope with not getting her way all the time: ie, if another child takes over, or calls her names.

Now, I accept the B is many, if not all of those things above, but the thing that amazes me is that this nursery find it surprising that children who are going to school aren’t totally rounded people. B isn’t 4 till August, for goodness sake.

Equally, they said they found her a real challenge and found it difficult when she plays one of the teachers off against the other. That made me laugh, for starters. A group of trained, professional child carers, being outwitted by a 3 and a half year old. The thing is, though, it feel as if it’s a direct attack on you as a person and parent, if they make these sort of claims.

And what about kids who never go to a nursery before they start school? Do they go in without an assessment? My daughter, for better or worse, is an intelligent, sensitive little girl, who isn’t a perfect yet. The whole point of school, among other things, is education of a worldly kind, not just academic.

The law of the playground is something you only learn when you get there. You can prepare kids for it. Some revel in it, some find it more difficult, but whoever you are, you get out of the other side a different and better person, usually.

B reminds me so much of myself at the same sort of age. Wilful and not prone to doing things she find boring. God knows, she’ll have to do enough boring things later in her life – let her enjoy the interesting stuff now!