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 Post subject: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 00:05 
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Having Miss Ferrars as Form Mistress
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This week’s feature book – and my own first foray into Planet Chalet about fifteen years ago – is The New Mistress at the Chalet School, first published in 1957 and covering the winter term following Problem. This book follows the exploits of a new mistress rather than a new pupil, and shows events largely from the point of view of the staff rather than the girls. Twenty two year old Kathie Ferrars, fresh out of Oxford and ready to take on her first teaching job, is hired by the CS as form mistress of the newly created Intermediate V, a form designed for girls not quite ready for the proper Fifth forms, either in age or general standard of work. We see Kathie’s point of view as she settles in at the school, takes an initial dislike to Mary-Lou Trelawney, and struggles to deal with new girl Yseult Pertwee. Notable events:

The book opens in the June covered in Problem, with Kathie Ferrars, an orphan living with the aunt and uncle who raised her, receiving a letter from the CS offering her the post of form mistress of Intermediate V, as well as teaching some maths and geography to the two top forms of the Middle school. Kathie’s aunt congratulates her, and reminds her that she will have to learn to be a little more dignified, which Kathie resolves to do. We also learn that while at Oxford she was friends with Nell Randolph, who has landed a post at the Carnbach branch of the school.
Two days before term begins, Kathie meets Biddy O’Ryan at Victoria, and they set off on the journey to Switzerland. Biddy answers Kathie’s questions about the girls, and reveals that she is going to marry Eugen Courvoisier the following summer, though as Eugen is now working at the San, they will be living on the Platz and so won’t be far away from the school. She tells her about the Maynards, and Kathie is delighted to discover that Mrs Maynard is Josephine Bettany the author, of whom she is a big fan.
At Basle the next morning, they meet up with Peggy Burnett and Sharlie Andrews, who have been staying with Old Girl Marie Drooglever for the holidays, and pick up the school runabout. As they drive to Berne, Biddy reveals that Winnie Embury has engaged a tutor for two of her sons and Mike Maynard will be going to Montreux during the week to share him. She also states that the Head is considering starting a Kindergarten due to the increasing number of small fry on the Platz, including the four children of newly-arrived Dr Morris.
The group finally arrives at the school, and Biddy takes Kathie along to the study to meet the Heads, then shows her up to her new bedroom to wash and change before taking her down to the Speisesaal for Mittagessen. They have coffee in the staff sitting room afterwards, then head for the Staffroom to have the Staff meeting.
At the meeting, after the mistresses dole out the various duties, it is revealed that Tessa Wynne, the daughter of Kay Wynne who is sister-in-law to Juliet O’Hara, will be joining Upper IV, and therefore Margot Maynard will be joining Len and Con in Inter V, on trial until half-term. Kathie also finds herself Junior librarian.
Term begins, and on the first morning after Prayers, Miss Annersley escorts Kathie along to meet Inter V, explaining that it has nineteen girls, with Jo Scott as form prefect and Len Maynard as her second.
Left alone with the form after being introduced, Kathie takes the register and tries to learn the names of as many girls as possible, and contrives to remember the triplets, Jo, Rosamund Lilley, Heather Clayton and new girl Yseult Pertwee. She notices that the latter is wearing her hair loose, and wonders if it is allowed, but doesn’t like to say anything. The girls then vote for Stationery, Flowers and Tidiness prefects, and Betty Landon, Rosamund and Joan Baker are elected. They spend the rest of the time until break giving out the new stationery and textbooks.
After Break, Inter V go to unpack, and Matron asks Kathie to help out. Yseult, who has been taken aside by Miss Dene who has spotted her loose hair, arrives late. Matron questions her about her hair, and Yseult informs her that both she and her mother prefer that she wears it loose. Matron counters that as she has been sent to the school, she will have to follow the rules, and marches her off to tie her hair back and supply her with ribbons and slides.
After Mittagessen, Miss Annersley ordains rambles for everyone. Mary-Lou tells Kathie that she, Hilary Bennet and Vi Lucy will be going with her and Inter V to the Auberge. Kathie, who has already seen Mary-Lou in action during unpacking telling off Heather Clayton for forgetting her winter coat, thinks she is being a bit too familiar in her manner and politely snubs her.
Prior to going on the ramble, Mary-Lou discusses the snub with Vi and Hilary, and Hilary correctly guesses that it was a hint that she was being too familiar in her manner. Although shocked at first, Mary-Lou concedes that she is used to getting away with things no else does, and agrees to remain in the background during the ramble to try and show Kathie that she has taken the hint and wants to be friendly.
After taking a few lessons with Inter V, Kathie grows very concerned about Yseult Pertwee, who is sixteen and a half but is a good two years behind the rest in her standard of work, and has been taught along old-fashioned lines to boot. She asks Miss Dene about her one evening in the Staffroom, and Miss Dene explains that Yseult and her sisters Véronique (Ronny) and Valencia (Val) were educated at a school run by a friend of their novelist mother, who taught poetry, art, etc. and left out essentials such as maths and geography. She insists that Yseult is already in the lowest form possible, and so it means intensive coaching to bring her up to scratch. She also explains that their mother is going into hospital for a long treatment, and may not come through it, and if she doesn’t the Pertwee girls will have no relatives but distant American cousins. Kathie, thankful for her own happy upbringing, resolves to do her fair share of the coaching to bring Yseult up to scratch.
On the fourth Friday of term, Joan Bertram, who usually takes prep with Inter V, has a bilious attack and is sent to bed, and Matron summons Kathie to take over. Arriving at the form room, she finds Mary-Lou there, having been sent by the Head because of the noise the unattended form was making. Mary-Lou is telling off Francie Wilford for rudeness, and Kathie finds herself annoyed that it is Mary-Lou of all people she finds there. She tells Francie to apologise and then sends Mary-Lou back to her lecture with the Head.
Francie, in a black mood after the trouble she was in, waits her chance and flings a pellet at Len Maynard, then refuses to own up until Emerence tells Kathie what happened. Kathie punishes Francie by telling her to stand for the rest of prep and make up her time afterwards. The grim atmosphere upsets everyone, and Heather Clayton rounds off the evening by letting loose a toy spider which causes a sensation in the form.
Miss Annersley arrives after her lecture and bans the earliest sinners from the Games matches the next day, ordaining a prim walk for them instead. She docks Heather of her Senior privileges for a week, and demotes Francie entirely to Upper IV for a week, and gives the entire form her unbiased opinion of them. Kathie privately worries that Miss Annersley might think she is unable to keep order, but she is reassured on that point after Abendessen.
On the Sunday, Kathie goes to English tea at Freudesheim to meet Jo, and is introduced to the twins, Cecil and Bruno. Jo tells her tales of her own schooldays, and learns about the chilly situation between Kathie and Mary-Lou, but makes no comment. After Kathie departs back to school, she rings up Miss Annersley and voices her approval of the new mistress.
Miss Moore, forced to go to the dentist at short notice, asks Kathie to take a geography lesson with VIb, a form which includes Mary-Lou. Kathie has misgivings about teaching girls who are almost as old as herself, but reluctantly agrees. During the lesson, she pulls up Mary-Lou for speaking out of turn, and the girls resent it on Mary-Lou’s behalf. Mary-Lou herself, still none the wiser as to why Kathie took such an initial dislike to her, resolves to do something about it, although she doesn’t yet know what.
The prefects hold their Evening for the staff, and the activities include Follow My Leader, Scandal, candle-jumping, folk dancing, guessing the use of various items and a handcrafts competition. Kathie wins the folk dancing competition and is awarded a set of Morris braces is a prize, as well as a booby prize of a green balloon.
Half term arrives, and Kathie takes a group of prefects on a trip up to Wahlstein to see the glacier and lake there. She once again finds herself resenting Mary-Lou’s attitude when the latter dispenses advice on bending their knees as they walk uphill. When they reach the glacier, they stand discussing it from a geographical point of view. Just as they are about to depart, Mary-Lou, moved by an unexplained feeling, suddenly grabs Kathie by the arm and drags her off a slab of rock just before it breaks away from the mountain and crashes down onto the glacier.
Kathie manages to overcome the shock and the pain in her wrenched arm enough to get the girls back to the local Gasthaus, where she and Mary-Lou, who is in pain with her old back injury, are able to recover over Mittagessen. They go on to visit the lake before returning to the school, and Kathie goes to the study to report what happened. When she gets there, however, she finds Jo Maynard with the Heads, reporting that Daisy Rosomon has had a son, Richard Anthony.
Matey ministers to Kathie’s arm and Mary-Lou’s back, but Kathie refuses to wear a sling in school where all the girls would see it and wonder what happened. As school resumes after half-term, the snow begins, and Jo brings over that year’s Christmas play which Madge had included with the triplets’ birthday presents. Mrs Pertwee arrives and spends the morning in Miss Annersley’s study with the three girls.
Later that morning, Kathie is irate with Con Maynard over her poorly done sums, and Margot, furiously indignant on Con’s behalf, lights a daylight sparkler that she finds in her pocket, causing pandemonium. Kathie, whose arm is paining her, forbids her from going home on Saturday with Len and Con to prepare for their birthday party, and adds that she must write to Jo herself to tell her.
Mrs Pertwee joins the staff table for Mittagessen, and makes a very unfavourable impression on them. She explains that she has come to see the girls as she is about to go to America to give a talk on her latest book.
That evening, Kathie encounters Margot trying to write the letter to her mother explaining her punishment. Len and Con are with her, and they plead with Kathie to remit the punishment, Con explaining that it was partly her fault it happened. Kathie remembers what Biddy told her at the very beginning about not drawing the reins too tightly, and agrees to remit the punishment.
The snow continues and rehearsals for the Christmas play begin. Yseult takes a violent fancy to the part of King Herod, and is most annoyed when the part goes to Mary-Lou instead. She grumbles to the others, and Betty Landon jokily suggests she go and tackle the staff about it instead. Yseult thinks it over and decides she will.
She tackles Kathie, Miss Derwent and Miss Dene in succession, but all of them give her short shrift. However, when the Staff discuss which girls will be understudies, Kathie remembers Yseult’s request and suggests her as the understudy for Herod. After some argument, the others agree, and as a result Yseult becomes more determined than ever to play the part.
The frost arrives to harden the snow, and skiing is ordained. Yseult decides to try and use the opportunity to engineer a mild accident to Mary-Lou and put her out of the play. Seeing Mary-Lou coming down the hill, she dives forward to crash into her, but Mary-Lou swerves out of the way and Yseult crashes into a pine tree, breaking her collar bone and putting herself completely out of the play instead.
The last day of term arrives, and while helping Kathie clear up the library, Mary-Lou ventures to ask why Kathie took such an initial dislike to her, and Kathie explains that it was her familiar manner that came as such a shock. The talk clears the air for both of them, and that evening, Miss Annersley tells Kathie that she has been on trial for the term and has passed with flying colours.

So, thoughts on New Mistress? What do you think of Kathie and how she tackles this, her first teaching job? Thoughts on the glacier affair? What about Inter V and Yseult, and her obsession over the Christmas play?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 02:44 
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In general, I really like this book. It's nice to see the CS from the point of view of a new mistress rather than a new student, and Kathie is such a lovely character - her enthusiasm and uncertainty, her willingness to learn, her relationship with her aunt and uncle. Her struggle to balance discipline with mercy with Inter V is well done.

Yseult is an interesting character too, and I think it was wise to have her as a background character, rather than a central character. She's a bit like Joan in that her background is totally alien to the CS way of doing things, and she's not particularly interested in adapting (and doesn't really have ability to adapt successfully even if she wanted to). I do the contempt the CS staff holds her mother in interesting - Mrs Pertwee does sound highly irritating, and doesn't have a lot of common sense, but she is also a single mother who has raised three children while earning a living as a successful author with no support from family, and has sacrificed her own health to provide for her children.

The plot line with Mary-Lou is a good one, and is really the only book that addresses the weaknesses of the older Mary-Lou. She means well, but to a new person, not versed in the ways of the CS, she definitely would come across as overly familiar and bumptious. I think that when Mary-Lou was twelve, her familiar way of speaking to mistresses would be seen as a cute eccentricity, because it's so far out normal behaviour for that age. But at sixteen, when she is physically adult, it would be taken very differently. And ML's behaviour in class definitely should have been addressed - she's interrupting and answering questions on the behalf of other students, which is not appropriate behaviour, and is interfering with Kathie's ability to teach. If her regular form mistress were letting her get away with that without comment, it would be poor classroom management.

The end is a bit unsatisfying, though. Kathie and Mary-Lou sort things out, but the message both of them take away is that Mary-Lou is just Mary-Lou, and isn't going to change, so it's the other person's job to understand her properly. When ML goes to Oxford, I do think she'd have a reprise of her problems with Kathie, only a lot worse, when she tried her familiar ways on crusty old professors.

Joey vetting Kathie irritates me. Kathie's doing a pretty good job for a novice teacher with a challenging class. She's competent and sensible, quick to learn, and settles in very quickly. Joey has her over for a command visit (Kathie's told to go over by Miss Annersley, not invited), then as soon as she's out of sight, she rings up Miss Annersley to give her opinion. And "she's got a lot to learn, poor lamb" is pretty patronizing, particularly from someone who is not a teacher, and has never seen Kathie in the classroom.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 07:56 
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This is one of my favourite Swiss books. Showing things from the viewpoint of a new mistress, with no previous knowledge of the school, rather than a new girl, is something fresh and new, and I really like Kathie. I hate the fact that Jo puts on a show of being Kathie's friend, only to report back to Kathie's boss as soon as she's out the door, but I like the storyline with Mary-Lou - it's good to see EBD acknowledge that her heroine, whilst she has many good qualities, is not perfect.

I think it was very unfair to appoint a new teacher in her first job as form mistress to an experimental form containing several known troublemakers, but I do like Inter V. Yseult is an interesting character, and it's a shame that EBD doesn't seem to know what to do with her and just gets rid of her. Everyone's behaviour is believable: no-one is too good or too bad to be true. It's also nice to have so many staffroom scenes, and to see that the staff have their ups and downs as well. Seeing things from the viewpoint of the teachers as well as the pupils is one of the things that really differentiates the Chalet School from most other school stories.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 11:54 
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Alison H wrote:
I think it was very unfair to appoint a new teacher in her first job as form mistress to an experimental form containing several known troublemakers, but I do like Inter V. Yseult is an interesting character, and it's a shame that EBD doesn't seem to know what to do with her and just gets rid of her. Everyone's behaviour is believable: no-one is too good or too bad to be true. It's also nice to have so many staffroom scenes, and to see that the staff have their ups and downs as well. Seeing things from the viewpoint of the teachers as well as the pupils is one of the things that really differentiates the Chalet School from most other school stories.


Kathie obviously does a good job though because she gets another troublesome form later on in the series - swapping with their current mistress. Think they are "games mad" but not much for actual working.

Like others above, I like Kathie and she is one of the best later series characters there is. It's different because we get to see the CS and the girls from her point of view.

I'm also not keen on the Joey aspect. I don't think Kathie can be described as a "poor lamb" either! :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 15:10 
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One, if not the, favourites of the Swiss books.Its good to see the school from a mistress point of view and on the whole I think EBD does a good job.Its different to see the staff point of view and how Kathie develops as a teacher and how she settles down and makes friends.
I think the way she felt about Mary-Lou was real, the girl would probably appear that way to others, indeed I've never really subscribed to the 'its only Mary-Lou'way of thinking.Mary-Lou can be helpful but can also be interfering
Like Alison I felt the way of ending that issue was a bit weak.Instead of ML realising she needed to change Kathie was left to join the others in the way they accepted ML's behaviour.
I also disliked the Joey episode,Joey has no say in the hiring of staff and I found the way she rang Hilda after Kathies visit to give her views very annoying.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 17:27 
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I know I'm in a minority (possibly of one!) here so I'll get it out of the way.
I don't like Kathie!
Right, and the book.....I find it so unrealistic in so many ways. Kathie doesn't strike me as someone who's been to Oxford, are we told what her degree was in? How did she acquire enough fluency in French and German to teach her subjects in the languages? Ddid no-one in any way brief her about the register, she seems to just walk into the classroom and work by guess?
Inter V is a complete mess, as has been discussed elsewhere, none of those girls got what they needed, really.
So it's actually the teaching bits of the book I dislike (yes, I am a retired teacher!), and as for the Mary-Lou elements, I think Kathie was plain wrong, not through her own fault but from being put in an intolerable situation, time and again. Black mark for the CS and its staff development!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 19:37 
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LucyP wrote:
I know I'm in a minority (possibly of one!) here so I'll get it out of the way.
I don't like Kathie!

No, not of one Lucy. I don't like her either, I find her very irritating. Not quite sure why. It's a book I avoid rereading.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 20:03 
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I'm another who does not like Kathie. edited because I can't type.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 22:11 
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I do like this book. As others have said, one of the things that sets the CS apart from other school stories is that we get so much of the point of view of the staff, and having a whole book from a mistress's point of view.

I expect EBD had to think quite carefully about what kind of character Kathie should be; she had to be someone who would appeal to her younger readers, and she had to be allowed to make mistakes, otherwise there'd have been no room for character growth and the book would have been less interesting.

Jo is annoying, making a big thing of Kathie going round by the road instead of across the garden. Why shouldn't Kathie go that way if she wants to? I probably would gave done the same, in her position. Then Jo lets Bruno jump and slobber all over her.

As a sixth former, Mary Lou should have known better than to jump in and answer a question directly addressed to someone else. Would she have done it if it had been Nell Wilson taking the lesson, I wonder?

Any teacher I ever had in my schooldays would have reacted exactly as Kathie did, and the pupils concerned - the one who wasn't listening and the one who jumped in - would have reckoned they got what they deserved, and thought no more about it after the lesson.

Thinking of the thread in Lemon Biscuits about characters in the later books, it's noticeable that EBD is able to populate Inter V with girls who we already know, who have well defined characters. Though I don't approve of her putting Jo Scott in there. Jo wasn't an academic genius, but there's never any indication that she couldn't keep up with her form, and putting her in Inter V means she misses her chance of being HG.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017, 23:29 
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This isn't one of my favourites I'm not a huge fan of Kathie either I don't really dislike her , just not taken with her.

It does seem unfair to give an inexperienced teacher an experimental class, I've always been puzzled by Con being there, Margot we are told is brilliant but doesn't try hard enough, Len is a born student but Con apart from English, I always understood to be average for her age.
Was this a case of not splitting the triplets up ( unless it's Margot themed, with her devil or sheer lazyness )

I would have loved Kathie's encounters with Mary Lou to have turned the tide & have the other mistresses think - Hm her manner is odd maybe she does get away with too much compared to her peers.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 10:58 
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Honey&nuts wrote:
It does seem unfair to give an inexperienced teacher an experimental class, I've always been puzzled by Con being there, Margot we are told is brilliant but doesn't try hard enough, Len is a born student but Con apart from English, I always understood to be average for her age.
Was this a case of not splitting the triplets up ( unless it's Margot themed, with her devil or sheer lazyness )


Con must be above average as she's usually 7th in her form of 24 girls. That's above average unless all the other girls are preforming really poorly. My understanding is Con isn't great at Maths but brilliant at English which averages out and must be reasonably good at everything else. She is described as having inherited her Mother's flypaper memory and is able to learn a major part in a Pantomime within two days with very few mistakes in Triplets. She may not be as academically brilliant as either of her sisters, but nor is she unintelligent and she does work hard.

I wonder why Yseult wasn't enrolled at St Millie's. She is 17 and would probably do better in that setting rather than at school in a form with a bunch of girls so much younger than herself

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 17:49 
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cestina wrote:
LucyP wrote:
I know I'm in a minority (possibly of one!) here so I'll get it out of the way.
I don't like Kathie!

No, not of one Lucy. I don't like her either, I find her very irritating. Not quite sure why. It's a book I avoid rereading.

Another member of that minority! Yet I thought everyone liked Kathie, except me. There was certainly surprise in my readers when I first introduced in ND a jealous, hurtful side to Kathie. Why had I made her the villain, seemed to be the consensus. But recently, a few have admitted they don't really like Kathie in the book, so perhaps there is something there that I picked up on. As a teacher myself, I was struck by the fact that we never saw her go and ask for help, especially when struggling with ML. She just made assumptions. I asked for help the whole time my first year. As to her having a difficult form, sometimes there's no option, no matter how inexperienced you are. And right at the beginning, we're shown that her aunt spoiled her too much. Goodness, Kathie never even chose her own clothes, yet she'd been at uni. :shock: Later on, in Trials, she's shown pulling a face behind Hilda's back when asked to move all the paperwork out of the office for fear of flooding. She'd wanted one of the other tasks Hilda had organised. Yes, it makes her human, but also that spoiled little girl again.

I'll run away now... :hiding:

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 20:33 
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I like Kathie. I found her sheltered rather than spoiled - maybe her aunt and uncle were over-protective looking after her as an orphan. I can see her not asking for help as an attempt to stand on her own two feet. Mary-Lou was definitely over-familiar and answering a question put to another girl was asking to be shot down in flames.

I have never found the explanation convincing for Mary-Lou's confidence/insouciance being in company with older people when she was young. My experience of younger children in these circumstances often have quaint expressions or habits and are at ease with older people but certainly are aware when they were over-stepping the mark. I would have thought that Mary-Lou's gran came from the generation when "children were seen and not heard" - I cannot imagine her putting up with anything that resembled cheek!

It's quite natural to talk about a new-comer in the community but Joey ringing Hilda straight after meeting Kathie and almost giving her an appraisal is way out of order. It's as if Joey has the right to endorse Hilda's choice of staff. I wouldn't have been happy if I were Hilda.

It's interesting to see the staff's point of view - something I really enjoyed as a child reader and Kathie's journey to be a proper CS mistress mirrors the various new girls who became proper CS girls.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 20:44 
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As a teacher myself, I was struck by the fact that we never saw her go and ask for help, especially when struggling with ML.


She did ask for advice about Yseult, didn't she? And was pretty much told there was nothing they could do about it.

I think the story was to some extent set up that way, with her aunt advising her at the start to be more grown up. And it would have made a less interesting book, I think, if Kathie had always gone to someone else when she had a problem, instead of trying to deal with it herself, and sometimes getting it wrong.

It was quite brave of EBD, in a book aimed at schoolgirls, to show that teachers are human and do sometimes make mistakes.

(And I wonder what advice Kathie would have been given if she had asked someone how to deal with Mary Lou? 'Yes, we know she's over-familiar sometimes, but she's allowed to get away with things that no-one else would because she's Mary Lou'?)


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 21:31 
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This is one of my favourites, and I can't say I find much unrealistic about the teaching - people DO throw teachers into a new class without any kind of information whatsoever and leave them to cope (been there), and it IS quite daunting having to teach an advanced level class when you're only new (been there too), and yes, there are schools where asking for help gets you the precise opposite, so I don't blame Kathie for not doing it.

We always had glimpses of the 'other side of the desk' throughout the series, and I always enjoyed them, so having most of the book on that side really appealed to me. Would have liked more, but I suppose a one-off was enough for most readers!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Oct 2017, 03:41 
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MaryR wrote:
Later on, in Trials, she's shown pulling a face behind Hilda's back when asked to move all the paperwork out of the office for fear of flooding. She'd wanted one of the other tasks Hilda had organised.


The section is this: "And I want someone to take charge of all papers in the study and the office. Kathy,” she turned to Miss Ferrars, “will you take that on?”
Kathy Ferrars made a face secretly, but she agreed to do it."

So she doesn't actually pull a face, but more of a mental one. And we are left wondering why. Did she not want the responsibility of looking after important papers? Did she get lost in the office? Was she simply allergic to paper? We'll never know :D

I wish the ending was a bit more even though. It comes across as Kathie having to be understanding, but ML should also have come to a better understanding that not everyone appreciates her 'matey' manner.

Quote:
Jo is annoying, making a big thing of Kathie going round by the road instead of across the garden. Why shouldn't Kathie go that way if she wants to? I probably would gave done the same, in her position.


I think we are meant to see the comment as "you are one of us, so you should enter by the side door." But yes, in Kathie's position I would definitely have been formal and gone to the front door and not just assumed it was OK to

And BTW, is it Kathy or Kathie? The books go back and forth on the spelling.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Oct 2017, 05:15 
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With Kathie, I see her aunt's well meaning advice having pushed her a little too far towards trying to figure things out herself, and trying to be more dignified. In later books, we see her with a better balance of dignity, discipline and friendliness with her students. I've seen people err the other way too - I've got a coworker who has obviously taken advice to ask questions to heart, but I've gotten to the point where I want to hand him a link to stackexchange and tell him to go away and learn how to spot typos in his code!

With Mary-Lou, I also don't buy that explanation. I have actually met kids who did fit that category - usually much doted on homeschooled only children of older parents. They're precocious and well mannered, self-confident and well spoken, but don't really understand that a nine year old is not just an extra short adult, and aren't used to being told "because I said so" or expected to go off and play while the adults visit. One of those kids would have pulled up a chair when Joey and Madge came over to visit, poured out the tea, and initiated an extensive conversation on an interesting story book she had just finished, while Doris and Gran beamed indulgently on her.

But ten year old Mary-Lou is in many ways a very normal child. Her Gran has been careful to keep her well mannered and respectful, and she quickly and gleefully adapts to being around other kids. She loves noisy games and getting dirty and picking up slang, and is quickly in the middle of things.

I think it's mostly her personality, because I've met people like her as adults. Very self confident, generally quite bright/talented, good at organizing, very gregarious, genuinely wanting to be helpful (if sometimes a bit tactless about it), and able to pull stuff off that other people wouldn't even think of trying through force of personality.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Oct 2017, 11:06 
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I don't think this book shows that Kathie is spoiled.She may be a little young and I agree with others that her aunts advice wasn't the best in the world.I can understand her not wanting to ask too many questions, we all possibly know, from experience, just how wearing that can be on both sides.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Oct 2017, 11:14 
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Kathie was only 22, and she was having to teach VIth formers who were only a few years younger than herself. OK, it's not as bad as Laura Ingalls, at 15/16, having to teach pupils who are actually older than herself, but it must still have been intimidating, and maybe especially so as she was quite small and slightly built and people like Mary-Lou must have towered above her. And it can be hard to ask for advice when you don't want to give the impression that you don't know what you're doing. In my second proper job, I asked for help and some horrible woman said "You don't know anything, do you?" :banghead: . Well, no, I didn't: I'd never done that sort of work before in my life, and I hadn't been given any training!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 01:50 
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Alison H wrote:
In my second proper job, I asked for help and some horrible woman said "You don't know anything, do you?"


Jealousy. Pure jealousy. Ignore such people.

I had a similar experience and I said "but I am willing to learn". Later I discovered the person wanted the job but was not willing to 'upskill' (whatever the trendy word is nowadays) so my comment went home.

Quote:
Kathie was only 22, and she was having to teach VIth formers who were only a few years younger than herself


That's why Len says she doesn't want to return to teach until al the kids she was at school with are long gone. But given that the CS starts with kids when they are 12 (and even younger by the time she left) she won't be able to work at the CS for at least 8 years.

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