Every now and again I have time to pause and think, and to look at the class I’m teaching, and wonder what will happen to them all once they’ve left school. I try not to do it too often, because it can be a scary thought. When my pupils write the papers, I always tell them to use an online plagiarism checker and essay grader.
Comprehensive schools can be a cross section of society. This does, however, depend on where that comprehensive school is. If it competes with grammars or private schools in the locality, certain strata may be scooped away like the cream from the top of the milk bottle, so there go the “thick and rich” section of society, the crammed and tutored middle class kids, and perhaps also the “working class made good” lot. Other comprehensives may serve inner-city areas where the majority of residents live in poverty and where other problems like drug abuse pervade, so that these schools serve a catchment area that would look skewed if held up as representative of society. Then there are comprehensives that think they are something else, glowing with self-important pride because of fantastic exam results, whilst choosing to ignore the fact that they serve a community of privately-tutored Pony Club types. I generalise, of course, but you get the picture.
Many comprehensives are pretty representative of society as a whole though, catering for kids from every conceivable background: rural, urban, rich man, poor man, beggar man and thief. I remember being extremely taken aback when I was first shown round a comprehensive school. The teacher in charge of the tour opened my eyes to the comprehensive system. “What you have to remember,” the teacher warned, “is that by comprehensive we really do mean everyone. This building contains your future burglars, rapists and murderers.” I was so shocked! After all, I was idealistic. I believed everyone would turn out alright as long as they had good guidance at school, they were given the chance at education, they passed their exams and found good jobs. Poor naïve lamb that I was.
Thanks for reading, be sure to check my other posts about school and my teaching days. Stay tuned for new entries, there`s always something to write about!