Lifestyle

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Why choosing the right school is a parent's biggest decision

We often send our kids to the wrong school. My young lad never stops moaning about his place.

The other morning it came to a head when he started whingeing about what a 'kip' we're sending him to.

The old refrain of 'how would you like to go to my school where I teach?' is a bit old hat by now, so I hold back, although we had considered it at one stage.

After all, what better way to teach him the law of the jungle than to place him where he would be fighting the perceived favouritism on the part of my colleagues and me and where he'd never again enter a toilet alone without fearing ambush and ritualistic humiliation?

Arriving home so stressed from my school, he'd have no time for all that irritating, 'so?' and 'yeah, whatever, get over it' stuff that marks the total sum of teenager wit.

I hold my counsel in the full realisation that if he hates his school then somebody there must be doing the right thing. His grades are terrible but not disastrous, and he seems to have plenty of similarly smelly nerdish friends to waste time with on the internet.

Sadly, though, I have witnessed my peers sending their beloved offspring to exactly the wrong school.

Take, for example, the trendy couple who work in the media that sent their arty daughter to the local hockey-Catholic institution. Crushed by the rigid discipline and endless prayer sessions in the 'contemplation room' she soon suffered a major nervous breakdown and had to be placed in an exorbitant 'academy of excellence'.

Meanwhile, in a community school on the other side of town, another girl was floundering as she was removed from the comfort of her peer group, all of whom spoke with impeccable vowels and were dropped off every morning in Volvos, only to be placed among a group of 'Antos' and 'Samantas'.

To the horror of her parents, this little piece of social engineering took hold and before long their darling was "after tellin" them to "cop on" and demanding "the f***ing yoyos for smokes".

Next it was all cans in the graveyard and goodbye to homework, so before it was too late they switched her to the same hockey-Catholic secondary across town with its promise to grind her into submission with arcane rules or, failing that, dump her in a class with all the other no-hopers of her year.

You see, it's not always the kids' fault when they go off the rails.

Irish Independent

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