Teachers leave those kids alone!

A cartoon image with a school board like teachers use, and a cartoon teacher in the bottom right.

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave those kids alone
Hey teachers, leave those kids alone
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall

“Wrong, do it again! Wrong, do it again!”
“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding
How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”
“You, yes, you behind the bike sheds, stand still, laddy”
~ Lyrics from Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Pink Floyd

My own school days

When we came to the Netherlands and my children went to school, I had to adjust to how different their school days were from mine. They went to school five days a week, as did I, but there the similarities stopped. Their school days started at 8.30am and ended at 3.45pm, where mine started at 7am and ended at 2pm. They had the afternoon off on Wednesday, I never had. They had no extracurricular sport in the afternoons, where I did.

Except for 1.5 years in my high school career, my mother or father always brought is to school by car, but here in the Netherlands my children went to school either with public transport or on the bicycle. That 1.5 years of my high school career, I cycled to school too, and I absolutely loved it! That was the only time we lived moderately close enough to the school for us to cycle, and it was when South Africa was a much safer place than it is nowadays.

Something I also had to get used to was that the teachers over here were called by there names. Okay, the kids used the word ‘miss’ or ‘mister’ before their names, but still, they were allowed to use their names. We never did. Many times we didn’t even know the first name of our teachers, only the last. I think the only teacher’s first name I ever knew was my gymnastics coach, which was also my PT teacher. There was just a huge distance between teachers and pupils back on my school days, and a teacher was someone you always looked up to, whether you liked them or not.

Studying to become a teacher

Because I fell pregnant at the age of 16, I went to university a year earlier than my peers. This was because I completed the last two years of school through a correspondence course while I was pregnant.

As a child, I had never had a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. When in high school, Geography was my best subject, and that’s when I first expressed a desire for a future occupation: either an astronomer or a meteorologist. During that year of being pregnant and studying for my final exams, there was one thing I missed so incredibly much: gymnastics! That’s when I decided I was going to become a teacher. I wanted to do the same as my gymnastics coach did: coach gymnastics, and be a PT teacher. And because I loved languages and Geography, that would be the additional subjects I would study, so I could lecture those too.

In the beginning of my second year at university — this was also my last year, as I had to quit my study due to an injury — I had to find a school where I could do my internship. I returned to my old high school, and suddenly for a full week, I found myself in front of a class filled with young teenagers, lecturing Afrikaans. I myself was eighteen, only 5 or 6 years older than them. Still, they looked up to me, because I was a teacher… and probably also because their teacher was in the class too!

I enjoyed the week in front of the class, but didn’t like to go to the teachers lounge during breaks. It just didn’t feel like I belonged there. However, despite this, after this week I was convinced that I had chosen the correct study.

Full circle

In 2011 I received my bachelors diploma, after a 4-year study, and where I specialized in training science. This was to be able to train people in a work environment, but for my oral exam I had to prepare a short lecture and deliver it to the two examiners. Essentially, I found myself in front of a class again.

After having seen how outspoken the kids in the Netherlands were, I was convinced I would never want to be in front of a class again, and I told the examiners as much. After I did my oral exam — I gave them an Afrikaans lesson, as it’s hilarious how some words in Dutch and Afrikaans are exactly the same, but have totally different meanings — they asked me to reconsider my decision. They told me that I would be brilliant in front of a class.

It was like I came full circle. I had to give up my study at the age of 18, and there I was 44 years old, and I got this wonderful compliment. In a strange way it almost felt like I had righted a wrong, like I have completed my university study after all. I guess, if I ever think of doing a retraining, I can always decide to go into teaching. I know they always need more teachers!

However, with how quickly kids seem to be grown up nowadays, I might just find myself in front of a class singing:

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave those kids alone!

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

4 Thoughts or Fiction           The September Song Project          Snake Den A to Z

Reminiscences: Musings in Memoir

14 thoughts on “Teachers leave those kids alone!

  1. This was interesting Marie – I nurtured the idea of being a primary school teacher for a while, but I’m pretty sure it would not have been the career for me. I really enjoy being in a team and making communication bonds – I did like helping out as a TA when my kids were at primary though.
    Your contrast and compare strategy was fascinating, the similarities and differences between the 2 styles of schooling was very interesting to read. I think your patience and your willingness to share would make you a great teacher, but perhaps higher education would be better, once the pupils start to specialise a little more.

    1. It’s like a world of difference between the two school systems! I think it will take a lot for me to get used to the school system here if I ever think about changing over to a teaching career. I don’t think I will, but the option is always there 😉

  2. This post made me smile as I have very fond memories of my primary school days and I love how it is in the Netherlands. I’ve always thought that if I were to have kids I would move back to the Netherlands. It’s interesting how different these things are from country to country. I like how you managed to go full circle and I believe them when they say you would be a great teacher. Though at the same time, I also get feeling uncomfortable doing it. I certainly do, haha

    1. Thank you for your compliment 🙂
      I don’t think I will pursue a career in teaching, as I love my job too much, but it’s always something I can fall back on if ever needed. And yes to the schools in the Netherlands 🙂

  3. I think you would have made a great teacher but do understand the anxiety associated with speaking in front of many people. When i was young I hated the idea of doing that and at Uni hated my seminars because we had to all deliver a speech. But I also got past that about 8 years ago when I found myself in a job where I had to stand up and deliver information regarding products to a group of people. I think I learned that confidence comes with age 😉
    May xx

    1. I love that you have learned how to speak in front of a group, and think I will be okay too, but I just don’t like the idea of going back to study to change my career into being a teacher. And, I kinda like my current job 😉 xox

  4. I think it’s great that you finished your schooling even if you chose not to pursue teaching as a career.

    I spent part of my working life as a teacher; there were things I loved about it but also things that I found unbearable. I have respect for teachers in a general “I admire this occupation” kind of way, but I don’t put the veneer of aspiring-to-be-like-that on them that some people do/used-to. The same thing for all the “hero” talk that’s going on in the current coronavirus situations with doctors and nurses. Yes, I appreciate their work. But I don’t put anyone on a pedestal. It’s not realistic.

    1. I was actually thinking that same thing when today we were at the hospital, and I saw a banner with ‘respect’ on it. Yes, I definitely respect the work teachers and nurses and doctors do, but I have always respected it, not only now in the times of corona.

  5. I sure love learning about your life, it seems so exciting 🙂
    As a homeschooler I think this skne by pink floyd may be my theme song !

    1. It’s really nice to compare the way I grew up to the way my kids grew up (two different countries) and to remember how different it was back then from how it is now. I have more stories to share 🙂
      And, I think it’s so cool that you are a homeschooler!

  6. 🙂 I started to teach 10 years ago and I loved it every time I walked into the building. I still love teaching, but nowadays there is a lot less activity in the building. Online teaching is a new challenge for me and I like to do that, but I like live lessons much more (and I think are better for our students).
    I think you would be a good teacher, you listen very well and you are very capable in explaining difficult subjects. But please wait with your career move (if you want to be a teacher) untill the corona days are over.

    1. I don’t think I will switch careers easily, but if I ever do, I will wait for better times. Thank you for your compliment. And also, yes to live lessons, and not doing all of it online!

  7. I always like when you compare you life in Africa to today…it is so fascinating. Even though I never moved I went to school in two very different nations. In East Germany we also rarely knew the teachers first name and respect for authority was very much valued. After the wall fell it was quite the opposite.

    I figured that for a teacher today it is not the outspoken kids but some of the pushy and demanding parents that make this job so stressful.

    1. Just like you find my Africa times fascinating, I find it fascinating to hear about your life in East Germany. And you are so right about pushy and demanding parents!

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