Lessons from School 5 – The Upside of the Herd

There were some wonderfully thoughtful comments on my last post, both from parents and creative educators. It made me think that maybe my crazy ideas weren’t ALL that crazy after all.

However, since things aren’t likely to change soon I thought I’d highlight one of the upsides of educating in a big group.

There’s obviously more to education than academics. Just this morning I was telling one of the teachers that I think there’s a real need for a breakfast club at our school. No, the families are definitely not hard pressed for money for breakfast, but often the children are virtually unsupervised in the morning (a powerless nanny provides whatever they ask for) and as one young chap told me this week, he got his driver to stop at the variety store to pick up an ice cream and snickers bar for breakfast. In a country that claims the highest diabetes rate in the world, nutrition would be an excellent element to add to their curriculum. That was a side note/rant.

What I’ve really been thinking about though, is what they learn about getting along with each other and the challenge of getting tasks done when their are interruptions. Those are two life skills that they may as well start learning now! When the class is interrupted by behaviour issues, or the material has to be explained again for someone who doesn’t understand, it is a lesson in self discipline for everyone else. To remain focused when there’s an interruption is something I’m STILL learning! And to get back to work after the disruption – oh ya – I need to strengthen that skill.

I love to watch the other children when one or two are being rambunctious or disciplined. Some of them have excellent skills as far as remaining still and waiting patiently for the teacher to continue and not losing their place in the lesson, so to speak. Many of them also remain kind and don’t seem to judge those who are trying to steal the focus. These are the ones I think are going to be great. Focus is such an important skill. Kindness when it’s a challenge is a great discipline.

And if those around us learn to hold steady, be patient, be kind and don’t judge those who need a little extra help, well, isn’t that good news for all of us? At one point or another won’t we be the recipients of that good will? We all need to be shown a little patience sometimes.


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