By Anna Butkovsky Hewitt

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Extra info for With Gurdjieff in St.Petersburg and Paris

Sample text

That is a major cause of our problems – so much bad behaviour is simply swept under the carpet and ignored. The kids will only improve if they are forced to. I don’t care if we end up standing out here all lesson, though I regret that more time was not invested in teaching them to stand still and shut up when they were younger. I would not be having to do it now. I stand, arms folded, by the door. Speaking calmly, I say, ‘We are on nine minutes now. You know you have to be quiet before you go in to my lessons.

First, they are sent to the Head of Department, to whom they are also abusive and whose instructions they also disobey. Next, they are sent to the Head of Year where the process is repeated. Finally, they are sent to The Deputy Head in Charge of Discipline, who has a meeting with the pupil, along with his or her parents, or at least some adult who may be vaguely related to the child, and forgives them everything over a nice cup of tea. It never seems to strike anyone that this is a serious betrayal of these children and of our duty as teachers, in loco parentis as we are, to instil discipline and some sense of responsibility into them.

Now, first of all, you will fill the forms out and then I will come round and check them all, then we will stick them in. Do not stick them in before I have said that you can. ’ Nods. We can’t wait to use those glue sticks. ’ Thirty seconds into the exercise, the first label is destroyed as Stella (it’s amazing how many kids are named after alcoholic drinks) attempts to rub out her pencil marks and clumsily causes the label to fold in half. It is no longer good enough for her, so she scrunches it up instantly and throws it in the general direction of the bin.

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