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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eleven Plus Gifts

Selecting an eleven plus teacher is an important decision for parents. After all, their child’s future can hang in the balance.

An American called Beale, back in 1936, describe a contract teachers had to sign.

“I promise to take a vital interest; donating my time, service and money without stint for the benefit of the community. I promise to abstain from all dancing, immodest dressing and other conduct unbecoming a teacher and a lady. I promise not to fall in love, to become engaged or secretly married. I promise to sleep at least eight hours a night, to eat carefully, and to take every precaution to keep in the best of health and spirits in order that I may be better able to render efficient service to my pupils.”

If any parent can coerce their eleven plus teacher to sign this pact – please let us know!

Back in the days when the eleven plus examination was beginning to play a wider part in the lives of communities, a writer, Synnberg, in 1948, wrote about different pressures put onto teachers.

“Despite tenure, regardless of contracts, many teachers live in a state of perpetual insecurity. They are fearful of the principal, of the head of department, of examiners, of tests and their failure to reach teaching norms. Some of them are afraid of their students.”

The eleven plus tutor can sometimes be in a delicate position. Some children, however well prepared by the school and the parents, can not bring themselves to `try their best’. The child, for example, may bring up that the teacher had spoken sharply or had not explained how to do the work. A natural reaction from any parent would be to blame the teacher.

We would like think that most eleven plus teachers want to be liked and respected by their pupils. Eleven plus teachers, like all other teachers, will presumably, want to feel a sense of professional accomplishment. If we were to try to develop a contract between the eleven plus family and the eleven plus tutor we could start with a simple statement from the teacher. This could then be developed.

I would like you to like me.
If I do something that you do not like, please let me know.

I will do my best to help you.
You must do your best to help yourself.

If I do something and you do not understand, please let me know.
If you do something that I do not understand, please can we talk about it?

Some parents may also be willing to sign up to this credo. Some parents may want to add a little more:

I would prefer you to sleep eight hours a night.
You must be aware that you are a special person with special gifts – and you need to work very hard towards the examination.

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