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ATS - Playing the Claim Game 2021

February 2021

Dear ATS Parent

PLAYING THE CLAIM GAME

I have referred elsewhere to a lovely piece (originally produced as a poem) which recorded that a university professor once bemoaned about his students that, “Such rawness is a shame; Lack of preparation in the school is to blame.” The Sixth Form teacher countered, “Good heavens, what crudity! The boy’s a fool. The fault, of course, is in the Lower school.” The Secondary school teacher blamed the Primary teacher who in turn derided the ECD. The ECD teacher declared, “Such lack of training never did I see! What kind of woman must his mother be?” The mother answered, “Poor helpless child; he’s not to blame. His father’s people were all the same.” Not to be outdone, however, “Said the father, keeping in line, ‘I doubt the rascal is even mine.’”

It is symptomatic of how we tend to react when something goes wrong or does not please us; we blame others, anyone, whoever we possibly can. We play the Blame Game! What if, though, the child did well? What if, instead of the Blame Game we played the Name Game or the Claim Game?

We might then find that the university professor would applaud the Sixth Form teacher who in turn would acknowledge the part played by the Lower School teachers in building the skills required.

Then the Lower School teacher would admit the massive part the Primary School teachers played in preparing pupils who in turn appreciate the wonderful foundation the ECD staff gave to this little child. Finally, the ECD teachers would accentuate the role played by the mother in raising this child and the mother would admire the part played by the father, of course!

However, as we look back on our experiences last year and look toward the unknown of this year, let me salute you, the parents, for your part in your child’s education. You have had to face immense physical, financial, emotional, maybe even intellectual, challenges in assisting in your child’s education. You have stepped up to the plate as an Assistant Teacher, juggling with children at different levels, handling technology in new-fangled ways, discovering what teachers handle each
day in greater volume. Yet you have kept going for your children, while all the time having to deal with your own work situation, your own medical problems in the family or neighbourhood, your own physical and mental health, without letting up or giving up. You have realised that you are indeed the child’s parent in ways you never imagined and you have stepped up to the plate. You are the rock and foundation, for your child – everyone else builds on what you have laid down in your home.

You set the tone, you impart the values, you instil the confidence, you provide the support, you rock!

The teachers, for sure, deserve great credit and new respect too. They have had to adapt to a whole new experience very quickly, while also experiencing many of the human concerns you as parents have (many of them being parents too). They also are working twice as hard, many hours more with less personal contact (how you would willingly swap that right now!)

While we are busy dishing out the awards to parents and teachers alike, let us not forget the one who is at the heart of it – the child! Our children have also faced hugely challenging, stressful, limiting experiences, all at a young age without the maturity that we as parents may have had. They too deserve great credit for coping with this undesired intruder.

All I can say in closing: Well played, parents! Let us keep working together, for the children.

For further thoughts on this, do follow the link to http://www.atschisz.co.zw/parentsarticles/zimbabwean-rhapsody/

TIM MIDDLETON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ATS

THE ASSOCIATION OF TRUST SCHOOLS (ATS)
Empowering relevant, high-quality, holistic education in member, non-profit, independent schools
P O Box CH 574, Chisipite, Harare
04-497708 / 0773-688063

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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