Back in my day
I worry sometimes that, instead of being the glitteringly witty, gently sarcastic and indisputably loveable institution that I think it is, this blog is perceived to be the opinion vehicle of a reactionary 31 year old curmudgeon, rarely venturing beyond a refrain that goes “In my day, everything was so much better”.
To be fair, in my day there were horses over the back fence in middle-suburban Melbourne, my Grade 3 teacher wrote “Go the Demons” on my report card and the 20 cent piece you found lying on the ground in Coles New World bought you a veritable cornucopia of milk bar lollies.
In my day we never had to write a “learning intentions statement” at the start of a lesson. But this, I’m assured, is what is starting to happen at primary schools today.
I’ve been asked to do some ridiculous stuff in jobs over the years (at Smorgy’s I was once told to bleach 4000 kilos of broccoli because we’d run out of cauliflower), but never something as robotic and “process-driven” as predetermining what outcomes I hoped to outtake from the work day.
And if I had been asked to write such a thing back in primary school it would have looked like this: ‘Today I intend to poke a fluorescent caterpillar with a stick, avoid charlatanry under the marble tree and take a massive speccy at lunchtime footy.’
In my day, primary school wasn’t preparation for a grey, over-serious workforce. It was preparation for broadly everything and specifically nothing. And it worked. Glitteringly witty, gently sarcastic, indisputably loveable. You don’t get that from intention statements.
Jonathan Rivett calls the police when neighbours become rowdy.
An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. You can read Benign to Five in those papers every Saturday.