I don’t remember much about school and the things i do remember are not good. When i was five years old, my family moved towns. I do not remember, anything, much before the move or anything that happened around the time of the move, but i do remember this sense of loss. My mother will now say, i was quiet, no bother, which was just as well as my brother, born only a year later, was a screamer.
I do not know what kind of child i was before i moved, but i know school was torture. My mother took this five year old child to school and abandoned her! Okay she didn’t, but for many years that is the way it felt. I did not have many friends at school. I was always the last one picked for anything, i was the one no one wanted or so it seemed. My quietness and stillness got me bullied, which was usually insults, but occasionally physically. But words hurt.
I remember going to summer schools and one year when i was about nine or ten i took two cardboard boxes, fastened them together, painted it yellow, added a roof, bolsa wood and turned it into a Tudor house. The teacher took a photo of me and my house, which then was displayed on the wall. I was rightly proud of my house.
I was not an ‘A’ student, but i should have been, as my future self has proved. I was a ‘C’ student or indeed a ‘see me’ student. My reports often said, ‘could do better if she spoke more’ or ‘joined in more’, but why would i do that when others would then make fun of me. Then the day came when i was in a biology class, i was 16, and the teacher asked a question and i knew the answer and after several moments of dithering i put my hand up and answered, with the correct answer, only for the teacher to say, ‘whose jumped out of the knife box this morning?’ I didn’t ever answer anything again.
Yesterday i went with my daughter, Emily to collect my granddaughter, Amelia from nursery. And as i sat in the play ground i had those old familiar feelings of wanting to flee. Yet, my daughter freely chatted to others mothers and fathers and seemed to be comfortable there in her role as parent and friend.
Amelia is one of those children, who was born with jumping beans in her soul. She is never still, even in sleep. She is vibrant and the centre of attention within her little group of friends. I worry that one day, she will be made to sit on her hands and her vibrant energy will be capped, by the education system that we have today, which is awful.
A couple of days again i listened to a Ted Talk, called ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ given in 2006, by Sir Ken Robinson. Towards the end of the talk he tells the story of Dame Gillian Lynne, the choreographer of CATS and the The PHANTOM OF THE OPERA but as a child, in the 1930’s her teacher told her mother that she had a problem because she could never sit still and fidgeted constantly. Her mother took her to see a specialist. The specialist, who after listening for a while, put the radio on and left the room with her mother. From outside the room they could see Gillian, stand up and start dancing. The specialist turned to her mother and said, there is nothing wrong with your daughter, she is a dancer. Gillian went to dance school and the rest is history. She says the following about her first day at dance school -, ‘I walked into the room and it was wonderful, as the room was full of people like me, that could not sit still’.
Sir Ken Robinson final thoughts on Creativity is this, ‘Creativity is the process of original ideas, that have value.’ All children deserve to be educated in a way that is appropriate for them.
This is Amelia sitting still in Pizza Hut 🙂