Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Drama Disgrace

Emily and Jon got home at just gone midnight last night.

Emily will not be setting foot anywhere near that drama "class" again and nor, I gather, will her three friends.

Jackie dropped them off at the church hall, introduced them to the teacher and stayed for ten minutes or so to make sure they were all settled. Which they seemed to be. Once she was gone, however, things evidently took a turn for the frankly unbelievable. All four children were made to feel awful and all four were picked on by the teenagers who made up the rest of the group. Apparently, Emily came off worse, since from the moment she opened her mouth in the "introduce yourselves" bit, she was sneered at, laughed at and bullied. Why? Evidently, according to what was being said both to her and about her, it was for being polite, for being softly spoken and for not having a northern accent. WTF????

During an extremely long break in the middle of the "lesson" both the teacher and his assistant vanished, leaving the pack of wild animals (sorry, "schooled and therefore appropriately socialised children") completely and utterly unsupervised. During this time, the little darlings amused themselves by further taunting the four new children, running riot in the church hall, throwing open cans of coke around and pulling at displays on the walls. One girl did make an effort to go and talk to Emily, Mei Lin, Jasmine and Alex. She was rewarded for this small act of kindness when the others deliberately poured coke down her dress.

The teacher made no effort to integrate his new (and considerably younger than the rest) charges into the group. He also showed no interest in the nastiness which was going on. During the second half of the lesson, they practised songs for an upcoming performance. No effort was made to help the four newcomers learn the songs. The "drama" part of the evening seemed to consist of a game of murder (the one where the murderer winks) and lots of aimless running about.

When George went to pick the children up at 9pm he was bowled over by four children desperate to leave and vowing never to return. He, Jackie, Jon and I are disgusted. George took the kids back to their house, where they did at least have a nice play with Emily until the psychic circle finished and she and Jon came home.

I'm just thankful Emily had older friends with her - at 9 she was by far the youngest there; I gather the three others were protective of her and outraged at the way she in particular was being treated. When she got home yesterday she seemed quite philosophical about the experience, albeit disappointed because she had been looking forward to making it a regular Monday thing. Today, though, she's been quite tearful and clingy. She didn't want to go to yoga tonight, saying she just didn't feel like going out, so we gave it a miss. Emily says she doesn't really know/can't put into words what she's upset about, and that it isn't particularly about what happened last night, but I can't help thinking that deep down it most likely is.

At least one good thing has come out of this. The teacher of this disgraceful little group is the full time drama teacher at our nearest grammar school, which supposedly has a fantastic reputation. I don't know whether the litle bitches in the group go to the grammar school or not, but that teacher's ability to supervise, ability to teach and level of pastoral care were all way below zero on the scale. Is he representative of that school? Who knows? More to the point - who cares? One useless teacher is one too many. We had on and off been wondering whether Emily should have a go at the 11+ in due course, just to see whether she would get a place at the grammar school or not, should she want one. After what I've heard about last night, hell will freeze over before my daughter attends that school or any other.

Perhaps all those who think school is so f-ing marvellous would prefer that our polite, respectful, kind and loving daughter turns herself into a rude, crass, abusive little cow so that she can "fit in" and "learn social lessons for life". After all, how will she cope with adult life otherwise? Except - if a group of adults behaved towards me like that, I wouldn't go back day after day, week after week and submit numbly to whatever was chucked my way. I'd walk away, make an official complaint, call the police or do any of the other dozens of options open to an adult depending on the scale of the abuse going on. But a child - oh yes, a defenceless child has to be subjected to this crap in order to become a rounded adult. Sure. How sick is that attitude, and how much more sickening is the belief that home education harms a child by somehow limiting their social skills? Twisted world.


Lucy said...

That is so awful - I am so sorry this happened to Emily and her friends :( A knock-back to confidence but I'm sure she will recover quickly as she's not got to face it everyday. My two are due to start at a club that I imagine will be made up of schooled kids soon... hmm... will see how it goes.

Elle said...

That's absolutely awful. Elle

Anonymous said...

Twisted world indeed. Are you going to make a complaint?
Poor Emily :(

Allie said...

That sounds so horrible - poor kids. I'd be a bit careful about naming the school in this post as you are potentially identifying an individual too. Would hate to see this come back and bite you.

Nikki said...

That's a good point, Allie. I've edited the post to remove the school identifying bit. Thank you for pointing that out; I was so angry when I was writing that I didn't think of the potential repercussions.

Thank you for the sympathy, everyone else!