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Mansel
In this last conjecture they may actually be prophetic, for a large number of these boys will indeed be found in time to have been taught by their teachers to be teachers: the age-old pattern of following in your mentor’s footsteps. This is an orphan generation. Not that the fathers have died in the war, but that the paths that they followed are being washed away by the tides of time. The sons cannot watch the fathers at work. They cannot follow where they trod. They must make their own ways with no experienced wiser heads to guide them.
Time sees them in later years working extensively at keyboards: there are none at school. Time sees them managing men: they are given no lessons in this other than watching the teachers. Time sees them marrying and fathering the next generation, and playing a far greater part in the home than their forefathers ever did: there is not the slightest sign on the syllabus that this will happen. They will learn to cook, but not at school. They will learn child care, but the syllabus does not know it. There is not even any sex education. That is left to the school yard.
What then are they learning? English is perhaps the one subject that will be of lasting value in that it teaches them to put thoughts into words on paper: most of them will have to do some of this in later years. English Literature may not give them much of a taste for the great fiction of the past but it does require them to think about what they are reading since they have to write about it. English language teaches them the dying skill of parsing sentences into clauses and defining their syntax, and perhaps that this piece is written in the historic present (I think!). But it teaches the writing of essays. This is an essay of sorts.