WHILE I do not know any of the people involved in the current problems at Kaitoke School, as reported in the Chronicle, I have heard from a number of people about similar problems at other schools.

I hear the schools have no national standards; each school sets its own standards. I hear pupils are promoted from class to class automatically and not because they have passed an examination. I hear some parents are taking their children out of school to teach them at home and check that they are learning things they need to know.

Then I hear teachers are faced with defiant students who will not co-operate, and teachers who are at their wits' end because the school has no means of disciplining errant pupils. They are left wondering about what kind of homes these hoodlums come from.

They are being bullied by their pupils. I hear pupils are not doing the work they should be doing it but using their computers to look up pornography, and the teacher has no way of insisting they stay on track.

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Some years ago I was invited to teach form 3 and 4 maths and science in a girls' high school — it was an experience to remember.

I learned that much depends on building a relationship with pupils.

A girl who misbehaved I kept in at lunch time, doing simple sums. She was delighted with an experience of success.

Another girl I noticed was writing to her boyfriend. I showed her how a certain word was spelled and helped her with grammar.

At the end of the session she showed me her book and all the sums she had done. And from that moment I had an ally — when the class was in mayhem she got up and shouted: "Shut up and listen to teach."

TOM PITTAMS
Whanganui


Seabed mining

In response to the considered and insightful letter from David Bennett (October 6):
Thank the heavens for the voice of reason regarding the shameful celebration of thwarted seabed mining plans.

Why can so few see the great advantage of allowing Chinese-led Trans-Tasman Resources to mine 50 million tonnes of ironsand each year for the next 35 years from the sea floor in our moana?

As Mr Bennett says, the work is going to be located "... on a narrow strip of sea bed some 30km out to sea from the shore; we won't even be able to see the ships". (Although, due to the size of the vessel vacuuming up the ironsand, the noise may be audible from the land).

Generally speaking, I agree — out of sight, out of mind. And that "narrow strip of land" is only the size of Wellington.

Please stop the madness. We need progress.

While we are partnering with our international buddies for cash, let's not stop with Chinese iron ore venture. Let's offer port space and services to Japan's southern whaling fleet. Think of the money we could make.

These are lost opportunities, people. Come on, vote Bennett. Let's make Wanganui (sic) great again ... Yeah, right!

TONY KAITIAKI
Whanganui


Shabby shelters

For some time I have been very concerned at the state of our bus shelters, especially as it is a long process to get new ones installed.

I find it shocking that a few mindless vandals then proceed to cost a lot of ratepayer money replacing broken glass panels (at $6000 a sheet) and cleaning off disgusting graffiti, while others leave their litter in the shelter when often a rubbish bin is at hand.

To try and solve these problems, the council has agreed to regularly maintain the shelters, starting off with three of the worst ones (e.g. Kaikokopu Rd) in mid-late October. I would appreciate bus passengers' help — when they see any damage, they should please ring the council and report it.

I hope we can have a notice with the phone number/text number placed in each shelter, plus I gather we are to get "no smoking" notices (for health reasons).

These shelters are a necessity for bus passengers, and to see them abused is not something the majority of our community like.

FIONA DONNE
Aramoho


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