Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jolly good, I see, and which prize do you have particular eyes on this evening? (Monty Python's Flying Circus)

And so to the Christmas holidays!

We (the present Mrs Purdzilla and yours truely) have ditched the weird NZ summer Christmas and high tailed it to London, where you find me now.

It's 3.50pm and darkness has descended! WAHOOO!!!! And it's raining! HOSANNA!!!!!!

Back in Nu Zild, the school year ended in the usual way - with a prize giving.

All NZ schools do this and that practice could, actually, be unique. 

It's not like the UK schools I taught at where prize giving was all a tad shambolic, and it's definitely not like a US style graduation ceremony with gowns and tassels and American showbiz razzmatazz.

NZ prize givings are formal and a big deal - like Britain in 1954. Academic gowns. Visiting speaker. Cups. Strict choreographing. Three cheers for the dux! Best behaviour.

Not that that's a bad thing - just a thing.

Come to think of it though: why do we do them like this? In 2015 especially - are they still a relevant way to end the year?

Well there's the celebrating success thing that is important, but we do that all year in assemblies, for all sorts of things.

So it's obviously for the students? Well not really. I'm pretty sure no one sits there thinking, "I'll show them - next year I'll get a prize!" The usual suspects appear to be the prize winners each year and in these December days the accent is squarely on NCEA internal success (the externals have just been sat so they don't figure) which generates it's own success.

It's for the staff then? Well - no. Teachers sit through prize givings and enjoy seeing some of the students getting public recognition but I don't think we sit there thinking, "This is why I became a teacher!"

The various august Boards? Nope (apart from a few, I guess, who like to be seen as the head cheeses).

It must be for the parents then, right? Oh, sure if their loved one is getting a prize, but otherwise... not really.

Why do we do it then? Why why why?

Two words. Public. Relations.

School's do prize giving because it says to the community (and prospective clients) - come on in! The water's fine. 

That's why. Right?

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