By: Blonde Two
Once upon a time there was a teacher called Mrs Lond (her first name was Belinda). This teacher worked very hard and her students learnt lots of interesting and important things like how computers work and why vegetarians secretly like bacon sandwiches. She did this because she wanted them to get the most out of life that they could.
This teacher worked even harder in her spare time and took students on daring expeditions through mists and bogs and snow. She did this to build their characters because she wanted them to get the most out of life that they could.
Then one day, a strange man called Mr Sted (his actual name was Octavius Fernando Sted) came to visit the school. He walked round all day and looked at all of the students and all of the teachers and then made some pronouncements. He said, “This school is a bad school because the students don’t all get top marks in their tests.” The teachers argued with him, they said, “Our school is not bad, we teach interesting and important things and we take students on daring expeditions.”
Mr Sted did not listen and he made some more pronouncements.
He said, “From now on, all teachers will be punished if students don’t get top marks in all their tests.”
He also said, “From now on, there will be a LIST. The LIST will be very important and teachers will only be allowed to teach things that are on it.”
Mrs Lond was very worried about this news so she went to ask Mr Sted a question.
She asked, “Will ‘character building’ be on the LIST because we like to take our students on daring expeditions through mists and bogs and snow.”
Mr Sted didn’t bother to answer her because he was already on his way to tell another school about the LIST.
Time went on and Mrs Lond tried very hard to keep up with making sure that all of her students got top marks in their tests. This was such hard work that she had less and less time for organising daring expeditions, but she still kept going with them because she wanted to build her students’ characters so that they would get the most out of life that they could.
Then Mr Sted came back to the school and decided that there were too many teachers. Everybody had to fill in a form to help Mr Sted to decide who could stay and who would have to leave. The form only had spaces for information about how to make sure students always got the top marks in their tests. It didn’t have any space for information about how to make sure students built good characters.
Mrs Lond filled in her form as well as she could; but Mr Sted came to see her later that day and told her that she would have to leave the school because building character was not important anymore, and that getting top marks in all of the tests was the only thing that was important. Mrs Lond was very sad, but also a bit happy because she fully intended to keep on taking her students on daring expeditions through mists and bogs and snow.
The day after Mrs Lond left her school, Mr Sted’s boss Mrs Mental (her first names were Go and Vern) decided that it was about time that she too made a pronouncement. Here it is …
She said, “Lessons in character are just as important as academic grades.”
Mrs Lond didn’t really know what to make of it all, so she wrote a little story.
CS Lewis said that, ” … a children’s story is the
best art-form for something you have to say.”
He also said, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil.”
I say, “Oh for heaven’s sake!”