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"school snobbery"

(584 Posts)
dinkybinky Tue 13-Nov-12 18:48:22

I think it’s hysterical that some people think that if you child doesn’t attend a Grammar school or selective independent then they’re not academic. The level of “school snobbery” that goes on is quite bewildering sometimes.

amillionyears Wed 21-Nov-12 11:36:33

Okay, it seems that a certain poster does not mind general offensive facts.
How about lots of solicitors are unfit, how about lots of solicitors fear the law etc?
I think MN needs to change its policy.
I think I will bring it up with them at some stage.

Perhaps some posters will change slightly how they post. But I wont be holding my breath.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 11:28:29

The bottom line is that many people who love their work do see less of their children and also their spouse. In fact plenty like to mess around at work all day and then do a spurt of work at 5pm to avoid helping with bed time and dealing with screaming babies and a housewife (or husband) who is fed up to the back teeth coping at home. There are plenty of men and women who choose never to have children and hate them and that's fair enough too.

However the working parents I have known over the last 30 years in or connected to the city and in business do very much love and want to spend time with their children. I have often said on here that a few hours a day is usually my own limit and I don't apologise for that. I have spread loads of chidlren over a lot of years and I adore the time spent with them but a few hours a day is about for me the best including on holidays. I also need time alone in total silence thinking and reading. Many men and women are the same adn we are able to achieve a nidce balance of work, alone time and family and hobbies although that tends to come once children are over 5 and at an easier stage.

I agree with MA that things change over a career too. When you are at the bottom like my daughters you have much less power. People go on about stress on high paid managers but all the statistics show it is the man or woman on the factory production line with no power or on the no fixed hours contract who does not know where they will be from week to the next who have the higher levels of mental illness. Once you have money and power and say over your own destiny things are easier. That is why I want all of my children to pick some kind of work where ultimately you can own the business.

libelulle Wed 21-Nov-12 11:26:54

In any case, what's so wrong with being motivated by money? I certainly would be, if I had that kind of earning power. Doesn't mean you aren't motivated by other things too.

libelulle Wed 21-Nov-12 11:21:17

I didn't say I couldn't see how women earned lots of money and still saw their kids, I said that I couldn't see how it was possible in many traditional professions especially in the corporate world. Of course I know that some women must manage to earn a lot while working at home, why would they not? If you are very lucky and have a brilliant idea, you could set up a business bringing in heaps of cash with barely any work at all.

It is you who decided to disregard all my many caveats - for instance that bit where I said '*I'm not saying it's the only model*, but if you are talking about corporate life, then I'm very surprised indeed if that is not the more usual model'. Or indeed most of my last post about visibility in the work environment.

I think you are rather touchy. You know, we are not actually talking about you personally? Nowhere did I EVER say you were a liar, did a job that was a grind or wasn't of value to society. I did say that MANY high earners are indeed motivated by money, though I never said they were exclusively so.

And bollocks to 'I know 3 men who never see their kids'. Pretty much my entire extended social circle is made up of highly successful professionals - I'm talking at least 600 people, so a fairly reasonable sample! Issues with work-life balance and long hours at the office are the stock in trade of senior professional positions - are you really denying that? If you've solved it, that's great, but you're right in thinking that you haven't convinced me that your position is the norm. Perhaps you could have a chat with Louise Mensch and let her know what she was doing wrong?

MordionAgenos Wed 21-Nov-12 10:43:30

I think repeatedly implying that someone is a liar and disregarding their posts (your repeated comments that you still don't see how women can earn > whatever without working ridiculous long hours and never seeing their children because you know 3 men who work long hours and never see their children) is a bit ruder than pointing out that you are refusing to look beyond your own direct experience then that shows a lack of imagination.

In this thread it's been implied that I am a liar, that I value only money, that I do a job that can't possibly be anything other than grind and boring, that I don't do anything of value to society........not all of those came from you but some of them did and I've read no apology, just the serial repetition that you don't see how it can possibly be done. That's a lack of imagination. It's not rude to point it out, it's accurate.

libelulle Wed 21-Nov-12 10:36:05

I'm not disregarding your posts - you hadn't told me what profession you work in, so how am I to know it is traditional? And I never said it was impossible to see much of your kids and earn a high salary - I said that a lot of professions require high visibility and presence in the work environment. You said yourself you see your kids more than most working women - and I certainly hope you don't run a government department, a newspaper or a hospital ICU.

And by the by, is it obligatory to be rude to people if you earn a high salary? I may lack imagination but I hope I would never be so gratuitously unpleasant to anyone, online or otherwise.

MordionAgenos Wed 21-Nov-12 10:28:27

@libelulle I work in a (very) traditional profession. I have told you how I see more of my kids than most working women. It's not my fault you either disregard my posts or lack imagination.

That having said, had I had kids in my 20s it would have been a very different story. Because those were the years where I was establishing myself. And working very long hours. I had DD1 at (just) 31, which was the right time careerwise. But it's just luck it worked out that way (I got married at 30). And I have had some amazing luck in other ways in my career too, I think, although my closest colleagues say that is bollocks and you make your own luck. But I think I was at least fortunate to have the right boss at the right time, and to make a very bold career move (and bold really isn't very 'me') just after I'd had DS - it was complete thinking outside the box and I think my life now would be very different if I hadn't made that move.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 10:15:29

I think it's just indicative of a general theme of despising most people and their lives and choices, to be honest.

amillionyears Wed 21-Nov-12 10:05:06

People may lurk who are as you describe.

Okay, I could say lots of solicitors have big bottoms [dont know if they do, but they may do as they have to sit down a lot]. Is that offensive?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 10:04:13

It's just an extra bit of needless rudeness, isn't it? Which is always nice.

libelulle Wed 21-Nov-12 10:02:23

Yes Xenia, but on the whole the examples you use of what women should aim for professionally are of highly 'visible' workers in traditional professions and positions of power. And there I really don't see how you easily combine those with family life and actually seeing your kids. If you're the head of a government department, the way things are right now, you certainly don't rock up at half nine and then leave at 3 to go to school assembly, or work happily with your child at the kitchen table. Ditto if you're editor of the Financial Times - can't imagine he works from home much. Or a surgeon, an example you often use. In fact the one surgeon I know loves her job but is at breaking point because of how little she sees her DD. The other one gave up and now works for a big IT firm.

But having said all that, I will certainly look up that 4 hour work week book grin.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 09:47:47

teta and Soof are good examples of parents trying to do the best thing for their children and it's rarely about snobbery.

Lots of high paid workers do work long hours but plenty do not. Buy the 4 hour week book about setting up a business which allows you just to work those hours if you want a lot of pay but few hours of work.

Fat - Pale - Yes, Chaz was right about my intention between the pale and fat and the people I had in mind were male, some absolutely exhausted, often commercial salesmen, sales directors or an MD I knew who would need to be in Leeds for 8.30am one day and then the Southampton office by 9am the following day, day after day. I don't think as no one on the thread is a fat middle aged man who takes no exercise and never sees the sun it can be offensive to suggest some of those middle ranking people are a bit pale and fat. Facts are facts. Certainly in real life I would never go up to someone and way you are pale and fat (and for the record no one is whiter than I am but there is a difference between white and unhealthily pale).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 09:18:14

Teta there won't be 'just as many bright children in comprehensives as in grammar/private', because comprehensives mirror society, in which very bright people are in a minority. It does not follow, however, that they are then left to fester, or are bullied, or say 'haitch', or throw chairs, or all the other snobbish assumptions one hears about state schools.

teta Tue 20-Nov-12 23:58:50

Can i answer the original question without becoming involved in the later discussion?.Do people really think that still?.There are just as many bright children in comprehensives as there are in grammars/private.In affluent successful areas there will be a fair number of highly educated pupils in these schools.There will also be a large preportion of above average intelligent pupils from largely non-academic backgrounds that will achieve very little.My experience of our local state school is exactly that.Hence we have decided to sent dc1 to a private school.The difference in teaching and ambition is astounding.I really didn't expect to see such a difference in ethos as i was in two minds about tearing her away from a group of very bright friends.I am not a snob but from where i see it dc1 has a huge advantage at this new school.I care more about my dc than what other people think of me and believe me i have have had some other mothers spitting feathers at my audacity in choosing to move my dc.I do not comment on other parents decisions but likewise they feel free to pass comment on mine.I'm sure they consider me a snob.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 20-Nov-12 23:31:23

I make it to sports days, school plays and most concerts etc. DH does some without me and I do some without him. I do the school run in the morning. Sometimes I work long hours and occasionally I have to go into the office on weekends but this isn't the norm. However, I can also work from home. Now DS1 is at an age when he has homework if I do bring work home we sit down at the table together and both do our homework.

MordionAgenos Tue 20-Nov-12 23:14:41

Aso, I'd just like to point out, there's nothing wrong with being pale.

MordionAgenos Tue 20-Nov-12 23:13:29

Well, if it makes you feel any better, I have to go to Brussels (where I officially work but which I try to avoid like the plague) on Sunday and because of the engineering works and the general inadequacy of First Great Western, I will have to get a train at 9:45 am to guarantee being at St Pancras by 3 (in fact I will be hitting paddington at about 12:45 but the next train won't get in till 2:55 which isn't enough time to get to St P, obviously). Because of this train arrangement snafu, I will miss DD2 singing the psalm at mass, which is not going down very well with her at all since, as she correctly points out, I was there last Sunday when Dd1 sang and I'm always there when dd1 sings and it's not fair especially as dd1 isn't even bothered if I'm there or not, not like her etc etc rinse and repeat. grin The fact that I organised this particular thing deliberately for that week to avoid her music exams which are the week after, and the fact that they only changed the psalm rota after I'd done my own scheduling and originally she and DD1 would have been singing on the other weeks, is apparently irrelevant to her.

MordionAgenos Tue 20-Nov-12 23:00:37

@Libelulle I never leave my house at 6am and I rarely get home after 9. Roughly two thirds of the time I work from home. Perhaps slightly less. The rest of the time, I'm either in London or somewhere else, usually in Europe or New York. Obviously when I'm away from home I'm away, but when I'm here, I'm here. Sometimes I work long hours but sometimes I work short hours. And if I am working long hours, it's generally when the kids have gone to bed or when they are doing their own thing. I set my own schedules 80% of the time. I've never missed a parents evening, I have missed concerts occasionally but my kids are in an awful lot of concerts. And to be fair, they have missed some of mine (due to disinterest). If I'm not overseas, I can be as flexible as I want when I'm working, so long as the work gets done. I don't often do the school run in the morning (although it's not unheard of. But I'm really not a morning person, I'm still staggering around half naked swearing at the time when they leave, usually) but I often do the school run in the afternoon, after I've been running.

libelulle Tue 20-Nov-12 23:00:05

That was an interesting post Xenia. It just doesn't quite chime with the successful rich people I know. So for instance, a couple off the top of my head - very senior civil service, partner in a management consultancy, and whatever the equivalent of a partner is in a merchant bank. These people are neither pale nor fat, and have huge power and influence in their professional lives. But they need to be there and visible at the office, for long hours, and as a result they rarely see their kids. I'm not saying it's the only model, but if you are talking about corporate life, then I'm very surprised indeed if that is not the more usual model.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 20-Nov-12 22:31:45

"Pale & fat" i.e. people who are working such long hours that they don't see much daylight and probably end up eating a crap takeaway lunch at their desk because they are so overloaded with work. Its a deliberate stereotype I assumed it was to emphasise that being stuck in the middle layer in an organisation can often be a pretty grim place to be. Senior enough to get the blame but not senior enough to stop senior people dumping work on your and not quite senior enough to meaningfully delegate the work to a junior.

All shoving in the queue for dead man's shoes.

Office politics dontcha luv it!

amillionyears Tue 20-Nov-12 22:18:20

Is calling a group of people pale and fat, nice?
No, and you know it is not.

I am actually fed up that she has been allowed to get away with doing this for many years.
To my mind, these are personal attacks x 10,000?
I sort of picked a bit of a random number there.

Should she get reported for all these personal attacks x 10,000?

SooFrustrated Tue 20-Nov-12 21:59:53

I'm not sure if this thread is still about school snobbery - but here goes-

DS goes to a grammar school, not because we think he is academic, but because it was the school which provided the greatest choice for him to explore his options -
Greater choice of subjects to choose from at GCSE,
more choice of after school activities
A greater choice of sports- the list goes on. He did pass the transfer test to get in but wasn't tutored.

The quality of teaching at our secondary school and academic results are not in question, but we felt DS would have more of an opportunity to try out lots of things that will hopefully make him a well rounded individual - whether he becomes a lawyer or an electrician or whatever.

It would be better if all schools offered the same facilities and opportunities for our DC but that doesn't happen. It's only natural that because schools are measured on exam results and because grammars use academic selection that parents feel pressure to do what they think is best for their DC- however misguided. Snobbery is everywhere - but it's all about attitude and perception - where you live, how much you earn, whether you iron school jumpers, how often you wash your bedclothes- who really cares if someone thinks they are better than me - they can just fuck off, I bring up my family the way I see fit and do not hurt anyone in the process.


seeker Tue 20-Nov-12 21:48:12

Xenia - are you still convinced that you are always nice to everyone?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 20-Nov-12 21:31:18

Pale and often fat... Awesome.

I don't really have a judgment on how often anyone sees her children, or how much is the right amount, by the way. Just bloody hate all this offensive stuff about people who earn less than loads.

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 21:04:51

At the moment I work from home too although on some days I work elsewhere and in 28 years I have never once missed a sports day or concert for any of the 5 children. The more you earn as a woman the more power you have to fix your diary. If you're a teacher conversely it's much much harder to get to school sports day of your own child and you have less power and much less money.

I am not saying that lots of people who earn a lot do not work long hours - plenty of them do and I spread my work over a 7 day week which seems to suit me best but if I want to pause on days I am here when the children are back from school to chat and accompany a music practice or put on the washer I can easily do that on those particular days.

Barristers do not always have the lives you describe. If you are not in court and many many of the days you are not - first of all you get big holidays, courts restarting in October etc; secondly a lot of work is advisory by email and writing opinions and you are self employed so you pick what work you want to do. There will indeed be busy periods. I personally think the low level middle managers - those rather pale often fat middle aged people who travel almost every other day with 4am starts who tend not to own the business just be paid a salary are the ones with the worst deal. i can think of such a vast range of rich people I know via work who do so many things which can be done quite a bit from home that I suspect teenage girls are simply not told about these options.

However I am not saying that there are not those long hours jobs and my daughter is in one at present but in a 40 or 50 year career you tend to have periods in them and periods not, periods at the bottom, periods at the top with different hours throughout. For most people real wealth which I don't haev tends to come when others you pay do the work for you or good you sell are sold with someone else doing the donkey work and you keeping the profits.

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