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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 01:32 
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I think for CS mistresses, loyalty was prized more than ambition. So they favour women who actively want to come back and teach at the same school they attended, and who are happy to stay until they get married or (presumably) retire. With low staff turnover, the chances for promotion are small, so in the Swiss days, if a mistress actively wanted to move into a department head, or school head, position she'd have to do it by changing schools.

In the Tyrol days, as Alison H says, a number of the mistresses join the school already engaged. In the English days, there's a larger pool of local men to be met, and a number of the mistresses marry people they meet while teaching. But I think Biddy O'Ryan is the only one who leaves to marry in the Swiss days - the rest of the staff hires are due to the school expanding. As an aside, I do actually know people who left jobs because they wanted to move somewhere they could meet potential romantic partners, having not been able to either due to geographic isolation, or cultural differences (as in a very tiny pool of people willing to date your race/gender combination). I've been in the latter situation, and even with a good job and active platonic social life it's frustrating.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 12:31 
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Because there are so many books set in Switzerland - nearly half of the series - I find there is a temptation to forget how little time it actually covers. There are only 8 years altogether. Within that time, there is a certain amount of turnover of staff. Nancy starts only in Barbara and Kathy of course in New Mistress, so she has actually only been there for 6 years, even if she does seem to be set for life. Biddy leaves after Richenda and is replaced by Miss Charlesworth. The Armitages change over in Mary-Lou, and Rosalind Yolland appears after Theodora. Miss Stone only appears from Feud onwards, so it is reasonable to assume that she was fairly recently appointed, since she is after that a fairly regular character. Miss Stephens disappears after Kenya. I would have thought the turnover was not that different from that of my own school in the 1960s, where we had a similar combination of fairly young staff who might leave to get married, and older staff who had been with the school for years and stayed until retirement. And some of the younger staff who came while I was there didn't leave to get married, and some of them stayed with the school for the rest of their careers.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 14:52 
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The only time teachers leave not to get marries who are not Miss Slater, is when the school closes and Madge says that they can't expect everyone to come back who has found new positions*. Although they mostly do seem to drift back...

There seems to be a very high turnover in the Welsh years, although that could be mainly be down to EBDisms :D But tbh that is what I'd expect, as the school is just like any other boarding school at that point - unlike in the Swiss years, with the opportunities for travel.

*And Herr Laubach, who retires and dies :(


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 15:07 
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Maybe that's why so few staff dared to leave. Mlle Lepattre, Herr Laubach and Herr Anserl all died shortly afterwards ...

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 20:24 
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Lots of interesting posts on here.

I think life on the Platz could not possibly have been as Platz centered as it seems. The mistresses and girls must have gone on casual trips to Interlaken and other places similar to the shopping expeditions to Carnbach. Surely too the staff went further afield and to events such as concerts and even the cinema during weekends off duty. Maybe EBD did not write about this because she had no personal experience of Switzerland.

I do think though that with the San and school both based in such a small area that there would have been a lack of anonymity.

I see working in the CS, except, for a few, as something most people would do for a few years. It would be a great experience working in such a beautiful country and with Europe so much more accessible for holidays, but after that I think it would pall.

I would not want to be a CS mistress. The lack of privacy would drive me up the wall but then this would obviously not bother the people who did choose to work there.

I offen think maybe Rosalie had the best deal. She seems to have got out and about a bit more and was, to some extent, her own boss. She also had a bit more privacy living in the annexe.

I don't see how the languages could possibly have worked, for staff or girls, except for quite language orientated, clever people. How did Kathy, a maths and geography teacher, get to be so good at French and German. As a young reader, though (and an old one!), I accepted this until recent posts on here got me thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 21:06 
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The thing that's always bothered me most (even as a teenager) about the trilingual system is the text-books - the few that are mentioned are English. They surely can't have had three text books (one in each language) for each subject? But if not, you have the rather bizarre (and for many people disconcerting) situation of teaching (say) a lesson on History from an English text book while speaking in German.
PS I feel very sorry for the pupils whose first language is not English, French or German!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 21:41 
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Loryat wrote:
The only time teachers leave not to get marries who are not Miss Slater, is when the school closes and Madge says that they can't expect everyone to come back who has found new positions*. Although they mostly do seem to drift back...

There seems to be a very high turnover in the Welsh years, although that could be mainly be down to EBDisms :D But tbh that is what I'd expect, as the school is just like any other boarding school at that point - unlike in the Swiss years, with the opportunities for travel.

*And Herr Laubach, who retires and dies :(


*And Grizel Cochrane. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 23:05 
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The text books bothered me too Noreen. If they did use three they couldn't be the same ones - very confusing.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2017, 23:14 
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That too!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2017, 01:09 
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When I was at school, there were many long-standing staff members, and indeed, some of the staff who joined the school while I was there just stayed on until they reached retirement age. I asked one of them once why, and she said that, if you didn't want a headship - and she didn't - it was a good billet, and she felt no need to move!

And the accommodation they provide for the housemistresses is very different now to what it was in my day. When I was at school, the housemistress got a bedroom, a sitting-room, and a private loo; the matron and other staff got a bed-sit. Nowadays the housemistress has a large-ish flat. When an ex-housemistress expressed envy, I pointed out that her generation were not expected to be married with families, but these days they had to provide for people who were!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2017, 11:02 
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On the text book front I always thought that they had one text book per subject (outside of language), but specially printed in translations. One section in English, one French and one german. All basically saying the same thing. Then whichever day you were in you could follow. Then during prep you could cross check your understanding in your best language of the three. Then in writing your prep/essay you would have the appropriate terminology and grammar as examples before you.

ETA - Rosalie IFRC is often mentioned as talking to printers or waiting for a delivery, perhaos this was not just school stationery.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2017, 12:10 
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That's a good theory about the textbooks scrabble but that would mean they were 'home-made' that is produced within the school as publishing houses wouldn't provide such books. A nice little job for staff and Rosalie!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2017, 12:39 
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And at least some of their textbooks were apparently from the standard range of commercially published ones: e g when Polly Winterton is doing her prep in Peggy, she's using an algebra textbook by "Godfrey & Simmonds" (which looks like either a typo or a mis-hearing of Godfrey & Siddons, authors of Elementary Algebra); elsewhere someone refers to Kennedy's Latin Primer.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2017, 16:35 
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Perhaps we should just suspend disbelief over the text books, as one often has to with other books, and enjoy the idea! :D One other of my suspensions of disbelief is that the whole school seemed to fit into the Speisesaal in one sitting! :dontknow:

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2017, 18:36 
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Indeed, Mary, and also bear in mind that practical considerations were not EMBD's strong suit and probably of little interest to many of her readers... :D

Love the point about the Speisesaal - I hadn't thought of that one!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 14:40 
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KB wrote:
Loryat wrote:
The only time teachers leave not to get marries who are not Miss Slater, is when the school closes and Madge says that they can't expect everyone to come back who has found new positions*. Although they mostly do seem to drift back...

There seems to be a very high turnover in the Welsh years, although that could be mainly be down to EBDisms :D But tbh that is what I'd expect, as the school is just like any other boarding school at that point - unlike in the Swiss years, with the opportunities for travel.

*And Herr Laubach, who retires and dies :(


*And Grizel Cochrane. :D


Goodness how could I have forgotten Girzel?!? In that situation you have the interesting situation of someone who really isn't suitable for a teaching position, although Grizel would have been allowed to carry on regardless if she hadn't set a pupil on fire!

My friend's mum used to work in Luxembourg and she told me they had a system that actually sounds similar to the CS tri-lingular system - I wonder how it works there?


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 15:09 
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Loryat wrote:
My friend's mum used to work in Luxembourg and she told me they had a system that actually sounds similar to the CS tri-lingular system - I wonder how it works there?
I suppose it wouldn't be so hard now, because teaching is less dependant on the textbook approach. You could easily have work sheets in different languages, for example...


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 15:16 
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I remember being told whilst in holiday in Morocco that most private schools there work on a bilingual French and Arabic system. They teach in French in the mornings and Arabic in the afternoons, or vice-versa. I was going to say that maybe each subject is always in the same part of the day, to get round the problem with text books, but that'd mean that every teacher either had to teach two subjects or else only work half-days ... so I've no idea how they manage! Or maybe they have maths in French in the first year but in Arabic in the second year, etc :roll: .

Canadian CBB-ers, I know most of your schools are either English only or French only, but aren't there some private schools which work on a bilingual basis? How do they go on with text books etc? It'd be very interesting to hear, if anyone knows :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 17:17 
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Noreen wrote:
Loryat wrote:
My friend's mum used to work in Luxembourg and she told me they had a system that actually sounds similar to the CS tri-lingular system - I wonder how it works there?
I suppose it wouldn't be so hard now, because teaching is less dependant on the textbook approach. You could easily have work sheets in different languages, for example...


[ http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/en/le-g ... index.html] explains how it is done in Luxembourg. The pupils become quadrilingual (!) by the end of their school career but not all four languages seem to be taught at the same time though, if I've understood properly.

We sent our German/English bilingual children to a local school which offered French as a first foreign language so that they wouldn't have to sit around feeling bored for the first year or two in English lessons. They also had normal history and geography lessons in French. The teacher used mainly photocopied texts and worksheets as far as I can remember.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 17:32 
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Thanks - that's really interesting.

Quote:
Language learning over the entire school career accounts for 50% of the curriculum.

I really like the idea of learning to speak two - and, with Luxembourg, it's three - other languages fluently at school, but it must cause issues with other subjects. You can only fit so much into the school day, so other things must have to give.

It also mentions that Luxembourgish is usually the mother tongue and that children start German at 6 and French at 7, and then English at 11. I can see how that might work, but the idea that girls can be thrown into the system at 14 and expected to catch up, or that staff who can only have learnt languages to O-level standard can teach in them, is definitely pushing it :lol:.

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