Waiting for the bus – Grenadian school children near Tivoli on their way home

Waiting for the bus

I thought this was a wonderful moment, tidy kids in school uniform playing and teasing each other and waiting for the bus to take them home, somewhere near Tivoli in Grenada. I’ve heard people reject uniforms in the conviction that the limitation imposed by a uniform infringes on a child’s right to be an individual. As far as I have observed most teens try to look the same anyway, and jeans seem to be the uniform of choice. if the focus was off the clothes and competing on that level they could worry about other more important stuff – being creative at science for example (trust me I still remember the first time I saw a magnetic field visualised with magnetic filings, I am still fascinated by it, and frequently wish I could run my projects by just applying a really strong magnetic force to all the project pieces……If you know how to do that let me know 🙂

if you haven’t ever seen this watch the video below:

I grew up wearing uniforms – then I moved to schools without uniforms, overall I preferred the uniforms. Simple, easy nothing to think about, no decisions to make, no clothing accountability……

I don’t know where you stand on the school uniform issue – I think they are a great thing, gone in a second is the concern that you cannot buy the latest Nike sneakers, the coolest tops from the right brand, gone the worry that your child will need to wear a different distinct outfit of clothes to fit in every day, gone the worry as a parent that if you cannot afford to buy the right clothes your child might be ostracised by the rest of the class and made to suffer. Some schools don’t have uniforms. In Switzerland I remember a classmate, who was mercilessly teased for wearing the wrong jeans, she was a “misfit” and made to feel it every day, she was different. Each class seems to need to find and “punish” that different person. The girl I remember seemed strong in herself and was able to celebrate her difference, or at least she made it seem that way. Uniforms make it hard to identify large differences in parental income as well as inherent fashion disinterest. An American friend, the child of Polish immigrants, told me she didn’t have much money growing up, her classmates regularly made fun of her clothes and of her, which traumatised her badly, because there was nothing she could do about it. On one occasion her classmates tried to flush her jacket down a toilet to make a point. Alternatively an extreme fashionista might end up going to school dressed like her pop idol, a friend who is a teacher once sent a girl home after looking her up and down and saying “I believe your forgot your skirt” the girl said “No it’s right here, my friend said ” Un hun, I’m only seeing a belt….”. The story reminded me of the first Bridget Jones movie and also why I could never be a teacher, at least not of that age group.

If I were a mum I’d worry about all the above, especially if I wanted to teach my children the value of waiting for something, the value of working for something and that you don’t always need to have the newest best thing, or that indeed life does not always owe you the nicest, best and most covetable object, just because somebody else has it, while also trying to help children fit in.

I would love to hear any opinions you have on the above, Rhonda, any thoughts as a teacher, anyone else?


11 thoughts on “Waiting for the bus – Grenadian school children near Tivoli on their way home

  1. Uniform for school has a yes from me. For all the reasons above. In a sence I also have a “uniform” now. I work in two cities. Both of them with a distinctive different mood. The corporate one( which I hate) and the other which I love. I go against the stream mostly but conform to the situation because I sometimes have to. They will never know that I am a true flower child at heart because that is me and mine and private.

  2. I am SO GLAD I didn’t have children: things like claiming they need to be individuals make me puke. The whole thing about being a kid is the peer group.

    • for kids the peer groups are important, remains the same as you get older, only then you get to chose your group :)!

      bizarrely it seems to me that the societies who most strongly idealise the wonder of the individual are the ones that also have extremely strong normative pressures

    • I imagine handling with the ROW outside the bubble of your chosen social network would be a challenge. Sometimes it seems that societies with the highest degree of focus on the individual are the ones with very strong normative pressures

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