The Treehorn Express
Opinion soaked in knowledge & experience.
Treehorn is the hero of an easy-to-read, sad children’s book, “The Shrinking of Treehorn” by Florence Heidi Parry. She cleverly exposes adults’ couldn’t-care-less attitude towards the needs of children at school, even when the circumstances of mal-treatment of children is obvious. Treehorn found that parents, teachers and principals only pretend to care, when ‘push’ becomes ‘shove’. He’s a sad lad.
“After our sick fascination with testing and ranking has run its course; after we finally decide to listen to real experts rather than politicians…. After the best teachers have been driven out of the profession; after maths and reading drills have replaced productive childhood play, art, music and other forms of personality development, creativity and ingenuity; after all the non-standardized kids are out on the street with nothing to show for the work they’ve done; after a bedrock of real democracy has been destroyed rather than thoughtfully enhanced, attention may be paid. BUT THE DAMAGE, IRREVERSIBLE, WILL HAVE BEEN DONE.
[Marion Brady: “How to save the taxpayers billions of dollars – really.” Washington Post 24-10-2012]
A School Teacher?
You are probably a school teacher if….
- You want to slap the next person who says, “It must be nice to have all those school holidays.”
- You can tell that it’s a full moon without even looking outside.
- When out in public, you feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behaviour.
- You can ‘hold on’ until after playground duty.
- You can go to the loo, take a phone call, have a conference with a colleague, tend to a playground injury and have a cup of coffee in 20 minutes.
- You check for spelling and punctuation errors in every piece of writing that you see.
- You walk around a shopping centre wearing face paint, sticker and a daisy chain and don’t even notice the stares.
- You look 50 before you’re 30.
- You can’t pick a name for your unborn child as every name reminds you of a pupil.
- When you can’t get your group of friends to listen to you, you put you hands on your head or clap a pattern.
- You rate the educational value of newspaper cartoons.
- You count your life in periods or terms, often weeks [depending on the length of the term].
- You can sing all of the words of Advance Australia Fair, including the 2nd verse.
- You can’t go anywhere without thinking, ‘What a great place for an excursion!’
- You cringe at the way that bank tellers hold their pens.
- You don’t know the date, but you know it’s Day 5, Week 4, Term 4.
- You believe that the staffroom should have a Valium salt lick.
- You believe that ‘shallow gene pool’ should have a special box on report cards.
- You think that unspeakable evil should befall someone who says,”Aren’t these kids mellow today?”
- When you meet a child’s parent, you instantly know ‘why this child is like it is’.
- You believe in aerial spraying of Prozac.
- You get a warm inner glow when a little one says, “Thank you for teaching me right.”
- Your personal life and ‘week-ends’ come to a screeching halt at report card time.
- Putting all ‘As’ on a report card would make life SO much easier.
- When you mention ‘vegetables’ you are not talking about a food group.
- You think that some people should be required to get a government permit before being allowed to reproduce.
- You move your dinner partner’s glass away from the edge of the table.
- You ask if anyone needs to go the the toilet as you enter the theatre with a group of friends
- You hand a tissue to anyone who sneezes.
- You sing the Alphabet Song to yourself as you look up a number in the phone book.
- You say everything twice. That is, you repeat everything.
- You fold your spouse’s fingers over the coins as you hand over the money for the tollbooth.
- You ask the quiet person at a party if he has something to share with the group.
- You hold your nose and ‘pull the chain’ when some asks you about NAPLAN tests.
“The main reason for testing children is to frighten them – to frighten them into doing what the teacher wants.”
[ John Holt : “The Underachievng School.”]