On her blog, dr calls Eila’s school “Hippie School” and I think I’ll pick up that nomenclature here. Not that the teachers are strung out, or big on daisies or anything. Just that the ethos is less rigid than at most schools. The idea is to treat children like relatively rational beings but not to push them too far into conformity — and if that sounds like what everyone’s trying it must be that Hippie School’s trying harder and succeeding better. The children are treated with respect at every moment, and addressed on issues that may be beyond their current understanding and outside their current interests in ways that are engaging and draw them in — and damn if it doesn’t work and isn’t returned. In a slightly different vein, two things I’ve noticed recently are (a) that no “ouch report” goes home for a bump on the head, and (b) that Eila is allowed to wear flip-flops. I like both these things, but it’s only just occurred to me why. Because they mean the school is not concerned about liability. They do not expect to be sued.
This is unprecedented in this liability-crazy society. This week I was delegated the task of drafting up some “learning outcome goals” (pleuh, pleuh, excuse me while I wash my tongue) for my department to post on the college website — this as a request from the administration who, in turn, is under pressure from the accreditation board on the issue of accountability. Got that? Who cares? The thing is, as the drafter, I was handed a statement about liability. Because there’s some fear that a disgruntled ex-student might see our department’s “learning outcome goals” as a contract and sue us if she doesn’t feel we filled her brain with what we promised.
Hippie school has looked this issue right in the midriff and announced that it has no clothes. And indeed, no one is going to sue them for an unacknowledged lump on the head, because we all love them. And we love them because they aren’t all freaked out about matters indifferent. See? An upward spiral is possible.
While I’m doing twos, here are two things that you don’t have in a new house to which you didn’t take quite everything from the old house: (1) hangers, and (2) bookmarks. I’ve solved the first problem but the second isn’t as easy — because you don’t go to target and buy a batch of bookmarks, you accumulate them lovingly over the years. All our books are now stuffed with socks and origami.
And — a spurious twosome — here’s another word that means a thing and its opposite: oversight. If we only had oversight we wouldn’t have so much oversight!