‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ – or so goes a famous Victorian proverb. On the first day back from a restful half-term vacation, as an entry point to the current study of Victorians, all Year 1 children were treated (subjected) to a day of Victorian education. Normally caring, sensitive and cheerful teachers became stern, callous and unforgiving (of even the slightest behavioural or academic misdemeanours).
Whilst the children and teachers enjoyed the day, everyone is agreed that modern teaching styles and methods are more to our taste. After all, we no longer use violent punishment (cane) or ridicule (dunce’s cap) to manage our classes. The day has given us a valuable insight into Victorian childhood and generated many questions that we hope to answer over the half-term. One of our children reworked a famous Victorian proverb for a modern context, saying, “Children should be seen and not hurt.”