Pauline King reminiscences of school days

School Days, Reminiscences of Pauline King

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Pauline King, The Contented Crafter. Pauline and I have been online friends for a long time. I can’t quite remember where we met, but I think it may have been through Geoff Le Pard.

Pauline and I clicked straight away as we have a lot in common and share many similar views about education. At one time, each of us even contemplated starting our own school.

I wish I’d known Pauline and had the opportunity of working alongside and learning from her while I was still working in the classroom. Although Pauline says that she has left that part (teaching) of her life behind, it doesn’t stop her sharing the value of her experience and words of wisdom when prompted. We shared so many in-depth conversations in response to posts, that I decided to give more space to her views in posts of their own. Follow these links to share in Pauline’s wisdom.

Which school? I found one!

Reflections on living a contented life, teaching and school

On children and parents —more from the Contented Crafter

Pauline King the Contented Crafter

Before we begin the interview, I’ll let Pauline tell you a little about herself.

I’ve had many incarnations as wife, mother, student, teacher, teacher trainer and mentor, curriculum writer and advisor, community hub developer, new worker trainer, and [whew!] life coach.  In between I painted, crafted, hand worked, gardened and generally tried to create beauty around me where ever I went.  Oh, I forgot to mention ‘world traveller’!

These days I’m [mostly] a very contented crafter and pursuer of serenity.  And of course, I live with Orlando, a now elderly Maine Coon cat of great distinction and forbearance and a most delightfully joyful pup who goes by the name of Sid-Arthur [yes, a play on Siddhartha for those of you who picked it up].  They feature prominently throughout this blog.

I’m retired now and happily spend my days doing whatever it pleases me to do.  Sometimes, in between my crafting projects, I still coach now and again, gratis, as a thank you for this blessed life I’ve been given.

Welcome, Pauline. Now let’s talk school.

 First, could you tell us where you attended school?

Porirua, then a village, now a city.  In the Wellington area.  NZ

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

State school

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

Originally nothing. I was pulled from school by my mother before I turned 15.  I later gained School Cert and UE via correspondence as a young adult and at the age of 33, I trained as a Waldorf teacher.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice? 

It seems I always wanted to be a teacher, but the circumstances of my life dictated otherwise.  In my 30s I was finally enabled to follow that dream through the initial support of friends  buoying up my low confidence and a series of fortuitous events that allowed me to enter the Waldorf training despite not having a state teacher training  which was then a requirement of any Waldorf trainee teacher.  (It was here I heard for the first time that I was seen as a graduate of the University of Life — a designation that delighted me.)  I believe that meeting kindness and being encouraged in my early school years ignited the wish to be a teacher.

What is your earliest memory of school?

The first day of school, I was 5 years old and terrified.  My mother pushed me into the room and shut the door on me and I was crying as the teacher came to get me.  But the thing that caught my eye was the book display.  You know those shelves that hold books with the full cover showing. There were so many books and they all looked so beautiful and enticing.  I stopped crying and the teacher let me stay there looking at the books.  I still remember the first book I looked at, ‘Orlando the Marmalade Cat’.  I don’t remember anything else, but it was clearly a very important moment in my life.  That teacher went on to become a champion of mine and I never forgot her many kindnesses and through her my love of reading flowered.

What memories do you have of learning to read and write?

I don’t remember learning to read. It came very easily.  Writing too.  At age 10 my essays were entered into inter-school competitions by the headmaster.  Later he asked me to not write fantasy, but to write about ‘what you know, your life’.  That was the end of my writing career.  🙂

What do you remember about math classes?

I have no recall of maths classes.

What was your favourite subject?

I loved all the humanities classes – reading, writing, history, geography, social studies.  I loved music too, until I was pulled from a combined class practising choral singing and told to stand at the front of the room and listen as I was singing off key.  That was the end of my musical career too.  I never sang in front of anyone except for my babies for many years.

What did you like best about school?

Pauline King the Contented Crafter tells what she liked best about school

For me in those first years, school was a safe place to be and I was fortunate to have in the early years women who took an interest in my welfare and some who even tried to help intervene in my home life. Their kindness made a huge impression on me and was probably partially responsible for the longing I felt to become a teacher.  They also had made me feel so safe that when the harsher teachers entered my world and humiliation and failure became the norm, I still liked school.  It was better than home, I guess.  I know I was, from a very young age, gathering information and evidence about what made a good teacher and what made a bad teacher.  It would all eventually come in handy when I parented and later became an actual teacher.

How do you think schools have changed since your school days?

My initial experience of state education is my own and the first two years of my children’s education.  (In the final six years of my working life I came up against the failures of the state system when I developed programmes for youth at risk in job training.)

When I had children, I looked for something else outside the state system for them but had the resistance of my husband to work through.  Later after my daughters both had bad experiences with teachers he agreed, and we transferred them to the local Steiner School.  There I watched my children bloom and blossom and there I too found my place. It’s a wonderful thing when you find your tribe and I had finally found mine.

What do you think schools (in general) do well?

I think in general schools provide an adequate education for students who have an academic leaning.  But, as you know Norah, I believe that true education is sadly lacking.  It seems to me the role of education is to awaken the mind, to develop the skill of learning, to prepare people for a life of learning and enough of an interest in the world to want to learn about it.

The reality is we spend all our lives learning, yet so many think they go to school to learn the skills needed to get a job.  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a young person (or even a parent) complain that reading a certain book will be of no use to them after school and science or maths adds nothing to the skill-set they need for getting a job.

It seems nobody talks to them about the joy of learning, of widening horizons, of deepening understanding or even of exercising their thinking capacities and developing their brains.  I’ve met many 15- and 16-years olds who can’t write their own addresses down.  They have no self-esteem, are angry and confused and turned off from society.  They don’t have the skills to hold down any kind of job because they also haven’t learnt about taking personal responsibility at school or at home.

How do you think schools could be improved?

Pauline King the Contented Crafter tells how schools could be improved

I’d love to see a return to a balanced education that includes academia and the arts and life skills.  I’d love to see each classroom be a living community where all kinds of kids learn to get along, learn to appreciate each other and learn that not everyone is good at everything.  But that everyone, even the least able, has a skill and a personality that offers much.  Where tolerance is taught and practised, and respect is modelled and expected.  A place where different cultures and different beliefs are seen as interesting and intriguing and when it’s all boiled down, people are people and we all feel the same way over the things that matter.

I’d like to see geography and social studies and all kinds of real arts and crafts come back to life in the classroom, I’d like to see kids singing and dancing and playing together in between learning the Three R’s.  I’d like to see the slow expansion of a planned curriculum that ensures a deepening understanding of the natural sciences — again attached to the developmental stages and understanding of the students.  Never bring hard facts too soon to young people — they kill childhood!

I’d like everyone to understand that we live in a world that is changing so quickly that it is highly likely the jobs their kids will do haven’t yet been invented.  The only way to ensure their children will succeed as adults is that they will have a healthily developed sense of themselves, their interests and their abilities and be able to think, to assess, to understand the needs of the world and to have the entrepreneurial spirit to meet them.  It’s less about passing exams and more about an ability to learn; less about gaining the skills for a job, more about gaining an ability to learn new skills.

Thank you for inviting me to join with your esteemed guests Norah, it is very kind of you.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Pauline. As always, it’s a pleasure to discuss education with you and, while it was great to hear of your early experiences and the influence of kind teachers, I am in total agreement with you about how schools could be improved. If only we could get those who make the decisions to listen to and enact your wisdom.

 

Find out more about Pauline King

on her website: The Contented Crafter

Connect with her on social media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulinekingnz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/contentedP

Browse her gift shop to purchase your own special piece of Pauline’s art or craft.

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Hugh Roberts

Debby Gies

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.

Coming soon:

Jules Paige

D. Avery

Christy Birmingham

Miriam Hurdle

Susan Scott

with more to follow.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

 

208 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Pauline King

  1. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Christy Birmingham | Norah Colvin

  2. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of D. Avery | Norah Colvin

  3. arlingwoman

    This is so enlightening. Pauline is very wise. I do wish her vision of education could be realized. I suppose it is in some settings! thanks for putting together such a focused interview on education.

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  4. D. Wallace Peach

    So many parts and pieces of this interview are deserving of comments. I love the wisdom and insights about education that Pauline shares and I can see how they arise from her own experiences. My heart broke when her writing came to an end because of an ignorant (my word) comment from the headmaster. Why squash a child’s joy in creativity and learning? But all’s well that ends well. Pauline is awesome. Thanks, Norah, for your series and for featuring this blogging sweetheart..

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      I wondered who would pick that bit up and it is you Diana – of course 🙂 I have another story about that fellow and also the story of a final meeting with him when all his power fell away – and I came to see that he was incredibly ignorant. So glad you popped by!

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Diana. Pauline is a sweetheart, I agree. I also agree with you about squashing a child’s creativity. Good thing creativity is one thing Pauline shines at – amongst others. 🙂

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  5. insearchofitall

    Pauline, I’m going to save this post to read all the comments! It was a wonderful and enlightening interview. This paragraph stood out from the many perfect paragraphs that resonate for me. “I think in general schools provide an adequate education for students who have an academic leaning. But, as you know Norah, I believe that true education is sadly lacking. It seems to me the role of education is to awaken the mind, to develop the skill of learning, to prepare people for a life of learning and enough of an interest in the world to want to learn about it.
    When people ask about my education, I just say I graduated from the school of hard knocks. I like the University of Life. It sounds kinder. 😉 Thank you so much for sharing this with us. This is me trying not to gush.

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      I found you! All the comments are what makes this post great I think Marlene – I loved being able to take part in all the conversations! I am proudly a graduate of the University of Life and think those of us who are should proudly add this to our resumes. 🙂

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    2. Norah Post author

      You’re allowed to gush all you like, Marlene. I’m so happy to have another Pauline fan visit and draw out the wisdom of her words. ‘The University of Life’ is a great way of describing most of the learning we do, isn’t it?
      And the comments are all definitely worth reading. What a great conversation Pauline initiated.

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  6. insearchofitall

    Thank you so much, Norah for giving Pauline this platform to enlighten us more. I will try hard not to gush here about how much I respect and admire Pauline and her stand in this world. I adore the person that she is even though we are continents apart and have never met. Her philosophy on education matches my own. Good teachers are not that common and I believe they are the MOST important resource we have. Pauline hit every nail on the head as to what is vital in education. .I was so lucky to come across her post so many years ago.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for reading and adding your thoughts, Marlene. Pauline’s philosophy on education matches mine too. I rarely (never) disagree with anything Pauline has to say. I would have loved to work with Pauline. Imagine what we three could have achieved had we worked together – the synergy would have been earth-changing. 🙂

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  7. thecontentedcrafter

    Reblogged this on The Contented Crafter and commented:
    Hi all! I thought I’d share with you a conversation I had with my friend Norah on her blog last week. If you don’t know her yet and are a writer or have an interest in education – or both – this is your chance to meet a wonderful friend and blogger, a knowledgeable and talented early educator and an avid supporter of writing prompts. Plus of course a chance to catch up with me sounding off about my old career and an ongoing passion of mine……. Do drop by and say hello to Norah and me and join in the conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. thecontentedcrafter

        You are most welcome Norah – thank you for offering the opportunity to have such a lovely uplifting experience with all your readers as well as mine – it’s not always something that happens when education is the topic. I had a blast! ❤

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  8. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of JulesPaige | Norah Colvin

  9. Jennie

    Fabulous interview, Norah! Pauline understands the deeper meaning of education. She knows that joy is the magic word. And to learn that it was a book that she first embraced when she was pushed into the classroom on day one at age five. Thank you Norah and Pauline!

    Liked by 3 people

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  10. calmkate

    Paulines interview resonated deeply with me … finding her tribe, although I nor any family members ever attended these alternative schools I was a guest speaker at the Coromandel Steiner school and made some very dear friends from that amazing experience!

    Your ideas for improvement resonated profoundly, you have worded it so skilfully, thank you ❤

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      1. calmkate

        I was only supposed to talk for half an hour, two hours later I looked at the teachers … later they told me they wouldn’t interrupt the flow as the kids had loads of questions and apparently the staff approved of my responses …

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          1. calmkate

            lol most of their questions were about family and relationships … I get so angry with my younger brother I want to kill him … I had an argument with my best friend and now we’re not talking … how can I start to meditate …

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              1. calmkate

                oh their questions were deep and they were all respectful to give each other time to ask and listen! I was most impressed and would recommend such schools to anyone 🙂

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            1. Norah Post author

              Those are tough questions to answer, Kate. You obviously did well to have them continue to ask and for the teachers to encourage you to answer. 🙂

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      I think we are often given opportunities to find ourselves with the right people – obviously yours came disguised as an opportunity to speak 🙂 Thank you for your kind words and I’m really happy to hear my thoughts resonate with you.

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  11. petespringerauthor

    I taught in the U.S., (elementary level for thirty-one years) but a lot of Pauline’s educational philosophies ring true with me. I would have enjoyed being in her class as a student and to teach alongside her as a colleague. Of the twenty most influential people in my life, more than half of those people were teachers. Thank you, Pauline, for what you did as a teacher and as a trainer of teachers.

    I love your recollection of ‘Orlando the Marmalade Cat’ and how this book provided a safety net for you. After all, a school should be a safe place that enhances creativity.

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Hello Pete, thanks for jumping in here and sharing. Thirty one years is a long time to be at the coal face of education. I hope you got a medal when you left! I am complimented that you would say you would have enjoyed to be in my class and my colleague – that’s high praise, thank you! I really like your note of the twenty most influential people in your life – I wonder if we all did that exercise what commonalities we might find. Another of my wishes is that teaching and parenting would be recognised as highly aspirational professions to be in.

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    2. Norah Post author

      Wow! I’m impressed that of the twenty most influential people in your life, more than half are teachers. I’d have to think about influential people in my life, but I know teachers (from my school days) wouldn’t rate highly though. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Pete.

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  12. TanGental

    Of course you said it all and so well. Never having taught and being a consumer of teaching services, my ethos for my two was really simple. Did they want to go to school? If yes then something would work out. If no then that had to be addressed pdq. The rest, subjects, homework, after school whatevers were to be navigated. I now have two fine, curious engaged and engaging children who more than anything are social animals capable of fitting into most situations. Their schooling gave them those tools plus some deep and abiding loves. Your manifesto would do that.

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Ah, my good friend! Your two clearly attended good schools that suited their learning styles. You also forgot to mention that they come from a healthy and vibrant family background where unconditional love and acceptance enables everybody to thrive. I taught students like them too and they were a complete joy to have in a classroom. They were so often the moral compass for others, the reflectors of common sense and solidity passed to them by their parents. They learned easily too and very often loved challenges. And lets not forget the sense of humour thing too! My point in this ramble is, if I could only change one thing in the world – it wouldn’t be the education system. It would be the ability for all parents to parent well. Once that is happening, the world would become a vastly different place don’t you think. Thanks for coming by and joining in.

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      1. Norah Post author

        if I could only change one thing in the world – it wouldn’t be the education system. It would be the ability for all parents to parent well. Once that is happening, the world would become a vastly different place don’t you think.
        YES!

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    2. Norah Post author

      I think happy children is the main thing parents want. Your contribution to having ‘two fine, curious, engaged and engaging children …’ cannot be overstated. Parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers. Never forget that. 🙂

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  13. dgkaye

    What an awesome interview! And I was surprised at how many similarities it sounds Pauline and I experienced as children. Also, I’m totally on board with Pauline’s vision of how education should work. Nice to learn about Pauline. ❤

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Thank you DG. I so believe we are more than the sum of our experiences, we have choices and we can learn. We can overcome and be more than we were taught to believe we were. We can forgive and let it be. We can live and we can grow. We are superheroes 🙂

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  14. thecontentedcrafter

    Gosh Norah, what a great interview – that was so much fun! I really appreciate being given a chance to have my little rant about education. I may not be in the game any more, but it seems I can’t quite leave the field of play 🙂 I thank you for making the whole presentation so attractive to read too, this is such a talent you have! You could have a second job as a book or web designer (have I said this before?) I’m going to spend time throughout the day coming and going and joining in with the conversations here. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity to meet and share with your tribe. Pauline

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for participating, Pauline. I’m pleased you enjoyed the opportunity to share your thoughts about education. I certainly enjoyed reading and sharing them. You have so much wisdom to share. I only wish those with the ability to make changes would take notice! 🙂

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  15. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Enjoyed learning more about you, Pauline. You’re so right about the stupidity of teaching children to equip them for particular jobs when what they’ll end up doing might not exist right now. Couldn’t be a better argument for a broader curriculum and focus on life skills.
    I have to ask if you’ve been able to resume your choral singing after the teacher’s cruel and misguided putdown? As a latecomer to the joy of singing in a choir, I’m on a mission to persuade people who’ve been taught they can’t sing that the fault is most likely in the teacher.

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Thanks for asking that question Anne. Yes I did. When I became a teacher myself music in the classroom was an integral part of every day. It was a huge challenge to me and at the end of my first term a very supportive musician who had his child in my class came and tenderly said to me he had never heard those songs sung in that key before. The laughter that ensued erased all my fears and embarrassment and I found myself surrounded by a hugely supportive group of musical folk for classroom work. As a faculty Steiner schools sing together at weekly meetings and at different festival times. My colleagues also took me in hand and taught me to sing and choral singing became one of the things I still miss about my teaching days. I never became confident enough to do a solo, but I can hold a tune now and know how to belt out a karaoke with the best of them.

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      1. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        Yay, what a lovely way to get you singing. But isn’t there a non-teaching choir you could join now? We have lots here in the UK, although some more supportive than others, and I’m so happy to have found one that welcomes me, although I have no aspirations to sing solo.

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          1. thecontentedcrafter

            It is common in Waldorf schools Norah – the teachers take part in as many of the arts as possible and present alongside the students at festivals and term end concerts. It’s all part of the understanding that we are role models in everything we do and say and that artistic activities are every bit as valuable as the academic.

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    2. Norah Post author

      I wondered if you might comment on Pauline’s singing experience, Anne. It is so sad when such an abominable situation occurs.
      I think we all agree on the need for a broader curriculum and a focus on life skills. 🙂

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  16. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Whoa. (Psst, Norah, remove me from the list… Pauline has said it all and said it so well)
    Is it only teachers that “gather information and evidence about what made a good teacher and what made a bad teacher”? I am always noting true teacher qualities and skills whenever I am learning from someone; motorcycle safety course, various pd workshops, workouts, pilots explaining flight, etc. I often come across natural born teachers in the “real world” but I agree that schools can be the places that turn off natural curiosity and wholeness necessary to being a lifelong learner. Of note in your interview is how a discouraging word can shut a person down.
    Thank you for this thoroughly thoughtful response to Norah’s questions.

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Hi Di! I don’t think it is only teachers who observe those things at all – in fact I met some who had no idea and didn’t self review at all. Self reviewing is a real skill and teachers are supposed to do it but many don’t or can’t. Like you point out here and do naturally, I think we should all do because it’s a really valuable tool for self improvement no matter what our work in the world is. Incidentally, I used that same observational skill for parenting too as I hadn’t had good role models. I see you picked up on my singing experience – the world is full of us! As a teacher I know I failed so many times. A throw away remark, not immediately noticing a need, over worked, tired, stretched – all kinds of excuses come to mind. But I also know that on balance I remedied all I became aware of and that was also a really important learning point for me. Everyone matters and if there’s a flat voice in the choir find another way to honour that voice and encourage it to soar, don’t flatten the entire being!

      Thanks for coming by and joining in and adding your experiences and thoughts. I’m loving the conversation that is going on here!

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      1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I went to “teacher school” later and non-traditionally as well. I had already read a bit of Steiner and was thrilled that this school also offered Waldorf training. At the time I was there, while not a Waldorf student, some of the classes were mixed and certainly had Waldorf influences. (There was a lot of resonance in your interview!)

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        1. thecontentedcrafter

          Aha! How wonderful. I remain a huge fan of the Waldorf Curriculum. My children received the majority of their education there and are streets ahead of me in the ‘unmeasurables’ departments. I see you have followed, so I’m on my way over to meet with you some more.

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      2. Norah Post author

        Reflection is such an important part of growth, isn’t it? Particularly when we use what we see to improve future responses, as you have shown here with your examples.
        Flattening an entire being is just not acceptable. Too many spirits are crushed that way. But I do remember reading a parenting book that said the aim of parenting a toddler was to crush the spirit. Needless to say, I didn’t pay heed or read much more of that author.

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your thoroughly thoughtful response to Pauline’s responses to my questions, D. Please email me if you are serious, and I hope not, about being removed from the schedule.

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  17. Hugh's Views and News

    It’s so sad to hear that some 15 and 16-year-olds still can’t write their own address. But then it reminded me of the first time I wanted to draw out some money from my bank account (before the days of chip-n-pin) after my first month at work, and how I had no idea how to fill in a cheque. The bank clerk had to help me through it. It was something that was not taught at school, but maybe it should have been something my parents taught me?
    I especially liked Pauline’s thoughts on how she’d like to see kids singing and dancing and playing together in between learning the Three R’s. Learning to play together is just as important role as learning how to read and write is.
    A lovely interview, Norah.

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Thank you Hugh. I remember reading your interview and being impressed with your journey. I think your parents should have made sure you knew all you needed to know about the banking system – but sometimes we forget that someone hasn’t been introduced to the things we do and take for granted……. Maybe you should have asked? And in the end the bank clerk had a wonderful opportunity to teach….. So it all worked out rather well 🙂

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      1. Hugh's Views and News

        It did, Pauline, although I’d have never thought to have asked my parents how to fill out a cheque. It was when I went to the bank to withdrawn my first wages that it struck me that I had no idea what to do. Not a problem these days given the chip and pin system and how fast we’re heading towards a cashless society. I wonder if the schoolchildren of the future will look back at what money was and how it worked? I know I seldom use my bankcards to withdraw cash anymore.

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        1. thecontentedcrafter

          Yes, I think you are right Hugh. Money has been moved into the realm of imagination. I live without actual cash almost entirely. I still keep some in my car for parking machines and even they are now credit card acceptable. It’s okay for the older generation who grew up handling money and who know what it is and what it does and how fast it disappears – I fear for the young ones, that it is just a fast track to eternal debt unless they have wise counsel at home or school. I guess this is just another aspect of our society that is changing very quickly……….

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          1. Norah Post author

            I think even greater financial intelligence will be necessary in the future. Maybe children will only get to handle cash when they play games like Monopoly – until they too are entirely digital.

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    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Pauline’s interview, Hugh. I’m quite fascinated by everyone’s school experiences and their thoughts on how education should be provided. I like that everyone’s stories sparks memories for others too.
      I’m so pleased the bank clerk was accommodating and helpful. I think I remember learning how to fill in a cheque at school but I wondered what was the point as I didn’t have a bank account anyway. 🙂

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      1. Hugh's Views and News

        Very true, Norah. I think there were many things at school that I was taught that I wondered why I was being taught it because it didn’t apply to me at the time. I sometimes still question why I was taught fractions in Maths class, but am reminded by my partner that I probably use fractions every day, but don’t realise it.

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        1. Norah Post author

          I agree with your partner. Fractions are in everyday use. Even tonight, when I bought a chicken for dinner, I asked ‘them’ to cut it into eighths. 🙂 Even time we share, we are doing a mental calculation of fractions, even if we don’t think of it as such.

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  18. Jules

    I can only imagine the joy of finding one’s tribe – I had to deal with US public schools. I have a friend who is putting her children through the Montessori system. While that can vary through the different administrators the basics (if I remember from my own education on the subject) is to instill the joy of learning. And I agree that that is what is missing in most ‘state’ schools.

    While only one of my children complete four years of College, the other chose an alternate career work program. And then afterward took online course and now also teaches. There is a value in having a job you enjoy.

    Thank you Pauline for being a part of this wonderful series that Norah is hosting.
    Continued success in all your adventures.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Thank you Jules 🙂 I’m always happy when I hear of someone who has followed their own path and successfully full circled back into education. I have a(n unproven) theory that those are the ones who make better teachers because they bring their own experiences and understanding of academic struggles to their work. I am so honoured to be included in this lineup of Norah’s latest series. Thank you for taking part in the conversation and sharing your thoughts and experiences too.

      PS – finding your tribe is a great thing. It’s never too late.

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Norah Post author

        Success – happiness – is a great achievement whatever the path.
        You’re right about it being never too late to find a tribe. With the internet now, there are many more opportunities to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jules. I agree with your statement about there being value in having a job you enjoy. It is quite depressing to work all day in a job your don’t enjoy.

      Liked by 2 people

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  19. joylennick

    Hi Norah, Congratulations on your interesting interview of Pauline. I do agree with her, and also feel – with the increased show of violence at large today – teachers (as well as parents) should also encourage children to ‘think’ more about how they view their fellow school-mates.It’s never too early to learn about sharing and kindness. xx

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Quite right Joy. Home and school should both be modelling the high road on these most basic and important of human skills: tolerance, interest, kindness and sharing. I love this quote from the Dalai Lama “Whenever possible, be kind. It is always possible.”

      Liked by 1 person

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  20. Darlene

    This was an excellent interview. I love that you named your Maine Coon cat, Orlando, after your first favourite book. I too worked with youth at risk in an employment program in Canada. I noticed the majority of these youth were very creative and just didn’t fit in the educational system. I believe that education needs to encourage that creativity in order to keep young people interested in school and ultimately successful in the workplace.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the interview with Pauline, Darlene. I also love that she named her cat after her first favourite book. 🙂 It says a lot about the power of books, doesn’t it?
      I agree with your recommendation about creativity. One of my favourite educators, Ken Robinson would agree too. Have you seen his TED talk about schools killing creativity?

      Liked by 2 people

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        1. Norah Post author

          No, it doesn’t. I think he’s more talking about ‘systems’ than individuals. 🙂 Any success of the system can be attributed to individual teachers, I think.

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    2. thecontentedcrafter

      I’m so glad you noticed my Orlando’s name genesis Darlene. The moment I became aware that the little orange kitten had chosen me (I was busy admiring a tabby who kept hiding himself away) I knew what his name had to be and later I went in search of that original book again so I could read it to him 🙂 I know what you mean about the creativity in so many of the ‘at risk’ youth. Still, they are the ‘unseen’ in the education system that had become a one size fits all fast track to employment. Unfortunately, given the fast pace of technology changing, the jobs that students are being educated for are now being done by AI’s or no longer exist. The ones who really suffer are the young folk who have never had the opportunity to have their creativity awakened. It is a tragedy and a heartbreak to see the struggles they have. You are so right in what you say and of course I totally agree with you. Let’s hope the powers that be will eventually catch up with us!

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Norah Post author

        I love that your sought out the book to read to Orlando. 🙂
        Yes, please, let the powers that be catch up, and soon. For our children’s sake and our future’s sake.

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  21. Ritu

    Oh Pauline. I agree about the lack of balance nowadays.
    I feel blessed with my own education, and as an early years teacher now, I try my hardest to teach a love of learning by exoration, but the expectations we have put upon us by the powers that be leaves less time for learning about social skills and life, and more about cursive writing at 3-5 when many of my children don’t even have English as a first language.
    Standardised tests from early on are also responsible for unnecessary stress on these kids, and that, I’m sure is why we have so many more frustrated and angsty teens, and tween, even earlier…
    Kids aren’t necessarily told this, but I think many leave primary feeling like they aren’t good enough, which colours their Secondary education and thirst for learning.
    Ooos, sorry for going on… And on…!
    Lovely to meet you! 😍

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for going on and on, Ritu. I agree with the difficulties you see and applaud that you do you best to encourage a love of learning in your students. It’s a pity the expectations of the system make it so difficult.
      I was interested in your comment about cursive writing being taught, and so young, as commenters on Debby Gies’ post were lamenting that cursive wasn’t taught. Maybe it varies from state to state and school to school.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Ritu

        Here in the UK it us now another tick box, about children being able to write joined up, so we have to both model and teach pre cursive and then cursive to them.
        Harder nowadays as many young children aren’t given pen and paper as an activity at home. Easier to hand them a tablet or plonk them in front of the TV… This means that their fine motor skills are lacking compared to their counterparts 10-15 years ago.
        So we battle with getting them. To learn grip as well as try and teach them to write!!!
        What joy! 😍

        Liked by 2 people

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        1. Norah Post author

          Teaching has many challenges, as well as many rewards. Sometimes the challenges can seem overwhelming, particularly when demands are high and support is low.
          In Australia we have three phases to cursive. The younger children learn print. The second stage introduces exits and entries to the printed letters. In the third stage, the letters are joined using the exits and entries. It’s quite a neat style and the progression is good, I think. When I went to school our cursive form was very different from the printed form. This is more a natural progression. I like it. The exits and entries are introduced in year two (3rd year of school) and the joined letters in year three.

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    2. thecontentedcrafter

      One of the things I know for sure Ritu is that we can never underestimate the influence of a good teacher. Any adult who reaches out to a child and lets them know they have been truly seen becomes an ongoing shining light in that child’s life. It is a priceless gift! And of course often it is the challenging students who need that ‘being seen’ moment most of all, it is something I wish all teachers really understood. When you mention standardised testing my response is always to just want to throw my hands up into the air in horror and exit stage right – it is the height of stupidity isn’t it – and in Kindergarten too! Ai-yi-yi!! The first seven years of a child’s life is spent information gathering and learning via emulation and imitation of the adults around them. Through play and pretend studies so many skills are being copied, practised, learnt and imbibed by osmosis that anyone who stood back and observed would be truly amazed. It was the original reason for sending littlies into kindies in the first place wasn’t it? The ‘Children’s Garden’ was a place where the adults would teach purely by example. It was an extension of home life with many little peers to interact with so that social skills were being practised based on the examples set by the teachers……… How do you ‘test’ that?
      Prematurely introducing academia and abstract skills stops kids from playing. Play is the work of childhood, it is the learning ground and the basis in which the skills required to become a successful learner and skilled adult are laid down.

      Oh dear – and there goes another rant 🙂 Thank you for being where you are and doing the best you can in the face of a system that seems intent on destroying the dignity and beauty of childhood. Never forget your caring makes a difference! xo

      Liked by 3 people

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      1. Ritu

        Hear hear to your every point!!!
        My brother lives in Finland and his oldest boy is at the age my pupils are. He’s in the best kindergarten, learning through play, and won’t start formal education until 7. I wish Britain were more like the Finns for education…. 💜🙏🏼

        Liked by 3 people

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        1. thecontentedcrafter

          I agree – It seems like the Scandinavians generally are miles ahead of the rest of us in understanding childhood and education and how the two come together. Waldorf schools understand child development and also hold off formalised teaching until the seventh year too – and they are a global thing. You have a most fortunate nephew!

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