Maybe St James really has changed!

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Tom Grubb
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Maybe St James really has changed!

Postby Tom Grubb » Sun Mar 28, 2004 6:56 pm

Here's an extraordinary post from Katherine Watson (apparently, a teacher at St James boys' school) on the Yahoo Anti-SES discussion group (http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/anti_ses/message/66)

I think fellow survivors of the appalling St Vedast boys' school may be rather astonished at some of the views she expresses. If only a few people like her had been around in the St Vedast days! I have copied her post below:


Hello, anonymous adrasteia (nice name)

I am the teacher at St James boys' school who separated the boys who
genuinely meditated from those who didn't want to. (Jack - nobody said 'at
home' - that was never the point, but never mind.) It happened like this.
Since
being asked to be a form teacher for the sixth form, I've become acutely aware
that most people don't actually meditate. I thought - this is daft and
hypocritical. So I asked how many people really did meditate during our
morning 10 minute 'meditation' session. Four or five people put their hands
up. So then I thought, this is REALLY daft. So I invited the ones who wanted
to meditate to take themselves off to a different room where they could
meditate in peace without the constant distraction of the people who didn't
value it. (Jack will back me up in saying it really is constant...) I decided
to
invite - and I stressed the word invite, since I think it is entirely an
individual's
business whether he or she meditates, prays, howls to the moon or whatever
provided it doesn't interfere with anyone else's peace of mind - the others to
try a range of alternative mind-calming, meditative-style exercises. Some of
them seem to like it. Some don't see any point in it. That's up to them. So
now all I ask is that people just sit quietly for that 10 minute period, so that

there can be just a little space and peace in what is normally a frantically
busy, noisy and exhausting day.

Incidentally, I don't know who made the remark about being 'disappointed' to
Jack. Personally I make a point of not wanting to know who has or has not
'joined'. I love 'em all and respect them as people - even though they drive
me crazy every day - regardless.

For the record: I have been a member of the SES for more than 40 years.
During that time I have questioned absolutely everything - sometimes directly
and openly, sometimes privately within myself. Many times I have come very
close to leaving, but so far I have always, after much soul-searching (OK, OK,
maybe there is no such thing as a soul, but you know what I mean for
heaven's sake) come to the conclusion that at the core of it is something that
to me is infinitely valuable. I don't think I need feel apologetic about that.

(And I'm happy to try to explain it if anyone asks.) I am an enthusiastic
labour
voter. I love jazz. I don't wear long skirts. Neither I nor my husband have
ever subscribed to all that 'subservient woman' stuff (which incidentally
seems quietly to have more or less died of its own accord). I teach academic
philosophy, which encourages me to think scepticism healthy. I do, however,
believe passionately in the basic freedom and integrity of every human being,
and his or her right to respect. I do my damndest - though it might not always
appear like that - to put that belief into practice in my work. I have taught
in
other schools, and I think that on balance St James nowadays does a pretty
good job.

Greetings to all,

Katharine Watson

the not so annoyed

Postby the not so annoyed » Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:38 pm

THANYOU for this thread!

not many replies? I guess no one can disagree!

Finally........!

mgormez
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Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:33 pm
Location: Amsterdam
Contact:

Postby mgormez » Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:41 am

the not so annoyed wrote:THANYOU for this thread!

not many replies? I guess no one can disagree!

Finally........!


My atttitude is "One Swallow makes no Summer".
Mike Gormez

Guest

Postby Guest » Wed Mar 31, 2004 2:38 pm

mgormez wrote:
the not so annoyed wrote:THANYOU for this thread!

not many replies? I guess no one can disagree!

Finally........!


My atttitude is "One Swallow makes no Summer".



atleast it's a swallow.... a start.

adrasteia

Postby adrasteia » Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:09 pm

I'm afraid that I believe her to be in minority, most teachers would not (admit) to having veiws like she has expressed, or doing anything about really daft situations like the one she discribes.

Tom Grubb
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: London

Postby Tom Grubb » Tue Apr 06, 2004 10:04 pm

adrasteia wrote:I'm afraid that I believe her to be in minority, most teachers would not (admit) to having veiws like she has expressed, or doing anything about really daft situations like the one she discribes.

I'm not surprised to hear that she's in a minority. Do you know anything about how she, and any other mavericks like her, is viewed and treated by students and the majority of teachers at the school?

Guest

Postby Guest » Wed Apr 07, 2004 11:41 am

Tom Grubb wrote:I'm not surprised to hear that she's in a minority.

Where, exactly, did you hear that?

Tom Grubb wrote:Do you know anything about how she, and any other mavericks like her, is viewed and treated by students and the majority of teachers at the school?

I know: she is much loved by students and is treated with unequivocal respect by all other teachers.

Tom Grubb
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: London

Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Apr 07, 2004 2:24 pm

Anonymous wrote:
Tom Grubb wrote:I'm not surprised to hear that she's in a minority.

Where, exactly, did you hear that?

From adrasteia. See the post four before this one.

Guest

Postby Guest » Wed Apr 07, 2004 3:52 pm

Tom Grubb wrote:
adrasteia wrote:I'm afraid that I believe her to be in minority, most teachers would not (admit) to having veiws like she has expressed, or doing anything about really daft situations like the one she discribes.

I'm not surprised to hear that she's in a minority. Do you know anything about how she, and any other mavericks like her, is viewed and treated by students and the majority of teachers at the school?


she may be a minority.. but that doesn't matter!

It's more about quality rather than quantity.......

Tom Grubb
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: London

Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Apr 07, 2004 9:26 pm

Anonymous wrote:
Tom Grubb wrote:
adrasteia wrote:I'm afraid that I believe her to be in minority, most teachers would not (admit) to having veiws like she has expressed, or doing anything about really daft situations like the one she discribes.

I'm not surprised to hear that she's in a minority. Do you know anything about how she, and any other mavericks like her, is viewed and treated by students and the majority of teachers at the school?


she may be a minority.. but that doesn't matter!

It's more about quality rather than quantity.......

Indeed. But, returning to the question, how would you say she is viewed and treated by students and teachers at the school? I'm interested because it would have been inconceivable for a teacher openly to express views similar to hers during my time as a pupil at St Vedast boys' school.

Tom Grubb
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: London

Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Apr 07, 2004 9:27 pm

Five pencils! Wow! Does this mean I've attained Enlightenment?

mgormez
Posts: 501
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:33 pm
Location: Amsterdam
Contact:

Postby mgormez » Thu Apr 08, 2004 4:12 pm

Tom Grubb wrote:Five pencils! Wow! Does this mean I've attained Enlightenment?


Sort of :cool:


But serious, I've added the pencils as a little incentive to the registered users and had to make a table by myself:

Senior Member are those with 25 or more postings
And you as Valued Contributor made 50 or more.

But it this board really grows I'll perhaps change the table and up the numbers required. So hold on to the 5 pencils for now and wear them with pride!
Mike Gormez

User avatar
adrasteia
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:55 am

Katherine Watson

Postby adrasteia » Sat Apr 10, 2004 9:42 am

Tom Grubb wrote:I'm not surprised to hear that she's in a minority. Do you know anything about how she, and any other mavericks like her, is viewed and treated by students and the majority of teachers at the school?


I wouldn't describe her as a 'maverick' or an odd-ball or anything, she does, as a previous post stated, inspire respect from teachers and pupils alike. I'm sorry if I gave the impression of anything other than that.
She does however, unlike some other teachers, fully question things or statements she sees as doubtful or not based on fact, which I believe is partly what is respected in her.
Her treatment of the meditation situation described above is a good example of this in practice: most teachers will just vainly force the children to sit still and at least pretend to meditate! She has seen it's really daft, has expressed this veiw- at least on the internet- and has tried to do what is in her power to improve it, although it still remains pretty daft! ...but that is for another discussion.

Tom Grubb
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: London

Re: Katherine Watson

Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Apr 12, 2004 4:52 pm

adrasteia wrote:
Tom Grubb wrote:I'm not surprised to hear that she's in a minority. Do you know anything about how she, and any other mavericks like her, is viewed and treated by students and the majority of teachers at the school?


I wouldn't describe her as a 'maverick' or an odd-ball or anything, she does, as a previous post stated, inspire respect from teachers and pupils alike. I'm sorry if I gave the impression of anything other than that.
She does however, unlike some other teachers, fully question things or statements she sees as doubtful or not based on fact, which I believe is partly what is respected in her.
Her treatment of the meditation situation described above is a good example of this in practice: most teachers will just vainly force the children to sit still and at least pretend to meditate! She has seen it's really daft, has expressed this veiw- at least on the internet- and has tried to do what is in her power to improve it, although it still remains pretty daft! ...but that is for another discussion.

Thanks for putting me right on that! She sounds a fine person. I wish she'd been teaching at St Vedast in the bad old days.

By the way, I think I would struggle to find many articles of SES 'philosophy' that aren't doubtful!

adrasteia -can't sign in

doubtful philosophy

Postby adrasteia -can't sign in » Tue Apr 13, 2004 10:05 am

...I would agree with you that much of the philosophy is doubtful. But I would say this is not individual to Ses. I think it is the way it is dealt with that may be the problem:
Rather than promoting discussion of the literature in which everyone's ideas are given importance and equal weight, they are rather seen as important or helpful in that they provide a passage to the 'right' idea, that which the tutor is passing on.
So ideas that are 'wrong' must be argued out of existance, or else the person must trust they are wrong, and 'come under the discipine', which in practice means accepting the tutors veiw until they can see that it is right. Has anyone heard a tutor admit they don't know/know why? Although many people feel they are good at side-stepping questions etc. There's no shame in admitting you don't know something, although it can be very hard. I think they're worried it brings them down in someway.
This is based on some of my experience of the Ses, and I believe is representative of much of its attitude genrally.
If this is also the character of most Ses politics (which I believe are a central part of St. James Schools also) then I believe it has an adverse effect- The School becoming stagnent as the old will not be tested against new ideas, which could perhaps change it for the better. Maybe the youth of Ses have this effect. It's funny to think that they'll be in charge of it one day.


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