Gilbert on Radio 4

21 May 2007

Appeared on Radio 4’s Learning Curve tonight, talking to Libby Purves about the New School Rules. She asked me about the different types of parents I talk about in the book: the Giraffe Parent whose long neck looks regally over the school jungle, the Anteater parent whose nose is so in the ground he never sees what’s going on, the Leopard parent constantly training their child to be a star. She then suggested the Elephant parent who crashes in on everything! I thought that was a good one. I felt I had come full circle in a way talking to her as I had done nearly four years ago, when I appeared on Midweek talking about ‘I’m A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here.’

Libby talked to me about how Headteacher can ask you to do anything — particularly boarding school heads — because ‘they’ve got your child!’ I thought this was a good point: there is almost a sense in which parents could see teachers as benign kidnappers, people who sometimes hold children to ransom. ‘You get your child to do what I want, or I’ll make their lives a misery.’ Of course, teachers don’t see it that way at all: they’re more like, your child is holding me hostage…

The best part about speaking on the BBC is that you get a free cab ride home. I put on the soundtrack to Casino Royale on my Ipod and whistled home through London’s shimmering night. For a moment, I felt like Daniel Craig in the brilliant new Bond movie, but then I realised I was just a person. But for a brief second, I snatched a brief sense of the excitement of the city at night. Then I was home.

1 comment

  1. How about the ‘mole’ parent? They’re sure that there’s a problem around here somewhere but they can’t quite see what it is (although they can smell it). They are determined to keep digging and batting around unitl they find it. When they eventually disappear underground having found nothing they have left holes all over the place.

    from Martin

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