The Infant Mistress

In a post war world with a booming birthrate
the shy young teacher taught in junior classrooms
while men home from war taught the older children.
She taught reading and writing to five year olds,
developmental art, counting with counters, rolling hoops.
She impressed the inspectors with her teaching and planning
and in time became in infant mistress.
Her new principal had recently moved into the office
for he had worked hard but had not the imagination
for promotion early in his career. At last
accumulated experience had enabled his elevation
to the office of leader of the school.

New theories and methods in the 1970’s
sent their school world into free fall.
Teachers discussed them in the staff room
after courses on holidays, at weekends,
after school. Those wanting to change the school
were routed by principal and infant mistress,
moved on  to apply ideas in other schools.
The inspectors spoke sternly about the
school’s need to change but were unable
to compel that change.

After eighteen years in his office he retired.
The new principal arrived – a woman !
She required the inspectors’ theories and methods
to be used in the classrooms. Old books and equipment
went into the dumpster n the car park, including
those the infant mistress had used for years.
Next each junior child’s work was checked one by one.

After many years of teaching five year olds
the infant mistress was moved
to a six year olds’ classroom
to teach the new programmes there.
Rudderless even with colleagues’ support
early retirement swept away.

The Infant Mistress

2 thoughts on “The Infant Mistress

  1. The education of the young seems to have been hijacked by ‘innovation and progress’, but I am not sure if it has reformed itself to a degree of kids better able to read, write and add up or indeed become creative individuals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hard to be sure either way now. I think it varies. In this case I think the infant mistress was let down by her principal. Professional development in any field should be ongoing and steady.


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