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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Eleven Plus and Houseman

As some eleven plus children feel a little `put upon’, at times, over the amount and the extent of work that is expected in preparation for the eleven plus, it may be as well to recall the words A.E. Houseman.

And how am I to face the odds
Of man’s bedevilment, and God’s?
I a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.

We want our eleven plus children to be properly brought up. We demand that they say please and thank you. We expect them to be polite to their elders and respect the opinions of others.

We don’t want them to be overwhelmed by eleven plus work and become moody and unsatisfied. We hate the idea that instead of doing eleven plus work at the proper time they may want to disappear off to engage in unsavoury activities that are not for the common good. We do not want an eleven plus child to feel miserable and `put upon’.

Very few eleven plus children will go to the trouble of rebelling against work. In the great majority of cases our children will respond to love and affection. There is certainly no reason for eleven plus work to bring up feelings of despair and fear. Having said that it is conceivable that some children will rail against the iniquity of extra work outside of school.

“Why me?”

“Because children who go to grammar school will potentially earn more money than children who go to a comprehensive.”

“But Auntie Jemma never went to grammar school or university and she earns more then any one else in the family.”

“But Auntie Jemma is very bright, and she had to get her qualifications after school and while she was working.”

“Well I don’t like doing eleven plus work. It is hard and makes my brain hurt.”

“There is something that we have talked about before – it is called tough love. As your mother I am telling you to do your work and stop prevaricating.”

“Yes mum. Thank you mum. I am off now.”

(Whispers quietly as the much loved child leaves the room to work, “Thank you. Thank you and thank you once again.”)

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