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|Pupil Rajay Naik's Experience|
Rajay Naik: My ,That'll teach 'em account.
We all realised it would be a truly life changing experience- but none of us realised how much it would really influence or affect us. We would step back in time and experience boarding school education in the 1950's, to discover the impact and explore the differences of it to current teaching practises.
I am personally used to having my education at Blue Coat School, a kind and warm school (apparently), which supposedly encourages independent learning- something very different to the harsh, strict and dominant teaching of King's, our 1950's school.
On the first day I was excited yet anxious and nervous. I felt the four weeks would pass quickly and wouldn't affect me. However, after the intimidating teachers entered the hall, the reality of the situation dawned on me, and I began to feel a lot less comfortable.
I was quick to make friends, firstly with Andy Walne, and later with Colum Hughes- both of which were in our Drake dormitory. The first week was the toughest, getting used to the tough and strict regime. And also the restraint and dominance the teachers possessed over you.
The food was testing, however being vegetarian put me at an advantage; the other pupils had to eat kippers, liver and spam, whilst I had to comparative luxury of cheese and omelette. Consequently I was lucky enough not to have to incur the 3d (pence) or Matrons tonic; which I incidentally tried on the penultimate day, to find that the pupils probably exaggerated their distaste about it.
I feel that some of the characters embellished their feelings and emotions- Harriet Rykens particularly. Many have asked whether Joe Mc Cready was really how he portrayed himself as. However I can confidently say that he did not rebel for attention, as he was very despondent because of the way that the teachers treated him.
Nic Hall- The Contraband King, was similarly not an attention seeker as many suspect, as well as myself, was in fact rather quiet and reserved. Naturally with so many diverse personalities living together for a month there were confrontations that haven't broadcast yet. The main conflict was between Richard Mylles and the majority of the other pupils. Unfortunately, due to contractual reasons I cannot go into specific detail, but many people felt that he was a little too self-opinionated and arrogant. Quite an intolerable character, really- but you'll have to keep watching to find out more!
At the end of the third week Foundation Day came. It was my 16th birthday, and unfortunately I had to spend it in a 1950's boarding school. If at the beginning of the month, someone told me that on the morning of my 16th birthday I would be in a 1950's boarding school in Buckinghamshire with "camera crew B" in my face I certainly wouldn't have believed them. Kindly the pupils donated some of their daily tuck into a huge collection of sweets, which I was still eating on the way home last Sunday! I also received a birthday card, signed by all the pupils, whilst everyone sang Happy Birthday at tea.
Unfortunately, on Foundation Day my Mum, Dad and sister were in Lanzarote, but thankfully my cousins came instead. I also received many birthday cards from friends and family when we received our letters on the Sunday.
On the final day of the four-week experience there were many mixed emotions in the school. All of us had now got used to the routine and each other and so people were less anxious to leave, but still keen to meet their families and get back to normality in the real world.
The four-week experience was indefinitely something I will never forget. It was a most enlightening experience and was unique in that it brought together so many different personalities and encouraged them to bond with the common aim of surviving the four-week challenge. It taught me that I might not have been as resilient as I previously thought and that sometimes you had to be particularly tolerant of characters you disagree with, most notably Richard Mylles. The twenty-seven days certainly weren't heaven but more enlightening than a week in Devon.
Article submitted by Rajay Naik.