Education is a practice that rings in my ear like a cracked bell. Out of tune, arid theory. Sour grapes too. Money was spent fruitlessly on my "education" and my father grew angrier.
For the fifth time I watched Etre et Avoir, a 2003 French documentary about a one-room school in the Auvergne where a single teacher nourished the lives of children aged 4 to 11. It won awards and made money, leading, alas, to a sad squabble I prefer to ignore.
I cannot accept that the movie depicted education - that hollow abstraction doesn't fit. In guiding faltering infantile hands to write better numerals, gently sifting through the reasons for a falling-out in the playground, persuading Jojo to finish his painting, and comforting Julien whose father faced surgery to remove his larynx, M. Lopez seemed only to be encouraging growth. A benign insistent force impelling his charges towards more effective versions of themselves. At the end a large percentage left for the summer holidays and then for middle school in Issoire. M. Lopez himself was due to retire. Emotional kisses were exchanged and it was clear that the children, having gained something, were also losing something.
I tried to imagine the circumstances under which I would even have shaken hands with any of my educators. My imagination failed me just as my so-called education had.
WIP Second Hand (31,364 words).
TO UNDRESS behind screens, put on an ill-fitting nightdress and to be at the beck and call of nurses was to cross the boundary of authority. Others clothed in suits and differing uniforms moved around purposefully into and out of the ward, jobs to do. Francine lay on her bed, trying to read a paperback, making no contribution, unable to identify her sense of unease.