Thursday, 24 April 2008

Okay. Hold on to your hats, here comes the rant.

Let me start with a short thought about the need for more thanks and love in our lives (est, I think that may become my new life mantra!) but let that need not detract from the obligation I sometimes feel to speak out.

As part of the National Curriculum (don't get me started) our little school is holding a whole week of World War II experiences for the children, including evacuation, dressing up and a street party. Prin. C-ub and Babyman have been bouncing off the walls about it since before Easter and both have their evacuation outfits pressed and ready to go.

The cry went out a few weeks ago for material so that we could create bunting and on Tuesday night we had a real Blitz spirit community sewing bee (*sigh* Those nights down in the Anderson shelters really would have rocked if they had had ABBA!) and have made a cracking start to the 100+ metres of flaggage required.

Figuring it was probably best to keep the smaller end of the school spectrum away from sewing machines, electrickery and pointy pins we had an afternoon session to make baby bunting. Easily acomplished with ribbon, glue and pinking shears. And as happens when in a classroom situation I became (obviously unwittingly) a little bit reactionary.

Okay, so I slipped into ' what would be the easiest way to bait a teacher' mode. I just asked the very simple question 'Will the Commonwealth be represented in this event?' Seems straight forward, huh? A simple 'Oh now that would be an idea!' or 'Well, we could discuss that at the next meeting.' would have been sufficient for me. But the answer I got was ......... actually, no ...... I'll let you read the letter I wrote today.

Suffice to say I mentioned it to CK last night (now don't look at me like that. I left it a whole five minutes after he walked through the door before I began to harrass him. He had even had time to loosen his tie!) and he suggested I leave it until the morning and see if I still felt the same way. Well, I did and consequently spent the afternoon putting this together. I'd be interested to hear what y'all think. Was I over-reacting? Is it worth the potential saga that may ensue? Is it not crazy that our HeadTeacher is actually called Head Teacher?!

F.A.O. Snotty Teacher
cc: Mr. Headteacher, The Governors.

I was quite taken aback yesterday afternoon by your response to the query about recognising The Commonwealth's involvement in the Second World War during the World War II week being held at school in May. To reply 'Well, we are celebrating Victory in Europe Day.' seemed an incredibly short-sighted and insensitive remark. The implication was that the Commonwealth nations (Empire as was) had little, if any, impact or value in such a momentous event as the 1939-45 war in Europe.

The attitude displayed yesterday did not seem open to acknowledging the huge input of men and materials from all points of the Empire, something of which the children of the period would have been very aware. An Empire (Commonwealth), may I point out, very well represented in our school cohort – Africa, Australasia, the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. Without this commitment I think it quite probable the war would have been a very different event.

You then suggested the older children might possibly hear about this during their study of WW II history but that the younger children would not be bothered with it. Both myself and another parent present made it quite clear that we have six year olds who are not only interested as to who was involved but have been researching it for themselves.

As I understand it you have responsibility for the history aspect of the curriculum and so, I feel, should have greater sensitivity to the context of the areas being covered.


TrashCan (and probably will come around there and smack you one!)

I have to tell you my initial response was a very steely gaze (a proper Paddington) and the words 'My grandfather was killed at Tobruk.'

You see tomorrow is ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand. It is our equivalent of Britain's Remembrance Sunday and November 11 but instead of a two minute silence we give a whole day to the act of publicly remembering all those men and women. I'm still impressed I didn't haul back and wop her one!

Okay. Rant over.


  1. It was the WORLD WAR II- of course the Commonwealth should be included! You were right to write that letter I think.

  2. I agree - many countries played a part in the victory in Europe - it is a shame they don't want to teach that.

  3. You better send that letter! How can they exclude any area that was a part of WORLD WAR II. If they are teaching history then they better teach it correctly and completely!

    Makes me think of those who now say the holocaust never happened. The sad thing is that those who have the tattoos are nearly all gone - so we have to speak up for them - eventhough they are no longer with us.

    You go and get that stamp right now and put it on that envelope so its ready to mail tomorrow!!!

  4. I'm coming out of lurkdom to say 'WAY TO GO TRASHY!' ... quite right too. Couldn't agree more. Howe bloody insensitive to tell an Antipodean that some children wouldn't be interested. If she'd have had her wits about her, she could have co-opted you to come in and talk about it, about how Aus and NZ 'do' ANZAC day, etc. etc. Stupid, short-sighted teacher!

    Just saying.


  5. Time to use the American you've got in the old arsenal??

    ps: send. the. letter.
    (Garmps would be proud!)

  6. Quite right too Missus!

    Also very eloquently and intelligently put. How can they say no?

    Maybe 'the membership' should get our A.R.S.E in gear and haul over westwards to support you!

    And now... a totally flippant and insensitive remark about your ANZAC day celebrations - cannot possibly imagine Aussie's managing to stay quiet for a whole day!!! Or did I get the wrong end of the whole two minutes silence stick??

    Your friend in the Eastern Division (A.R.S.E.D)

    p.s. terribly impressed that you gave CK so much time before you launched into you tirade - most generous ;)

  7. Another A.R.S.E. member duly reporting for duty Ma'am! Send that letter and be proud! I started reading blogs at around this time last year and have to confess that I hadn't heard of ANZAC day before I saw it being mentioned in blogland. I think Australia and New Zealand seem to have a much more active and current interest in and respect for their family members who have fought in wars. You should definitely push for the Commonwealth to be represented in the children's work.

    Locket xxx

  8. It seems to me that your teacher is trying to teach revisionist history and I think your letter is very well stated.

    You go girl!

  9. The victory in Europe only came becasue of help from countries outside of Europe. Send the letter!

  10. dear snotty teacher:

    it has come to my attention that you are not only snotty, rude, and historically irresponsible... clearly you are also AN IDIOT. i make this assertion confidently, based on the fact that, presumably having met missus trashcan previously, you made the silly and ridiculous "commonwealth" comments you made right to her face without even bothering to apologize, grovel, don protective headgear, or beg for mercy. on the plus side, this makes it much easier for me to face the prosepect of your imminent pounding without any of those pesky feelings of sympathy or remorse.

    hope you're a quick healer, S.T., but if not, it'll give you a bit of time to read up on the bits of WWII history you seemed to have missed out on the first the part where the first "W" stands for WORLD!!!

    sincerely yours,
    lauren b
    (A.R.S.E.D. in america!)

  11. Aaah yeah .... see, that's the rant I was after. And a very worthy rant too - hats off to you. That teacher will be quaking in her shoes come Monday ....