Whilst a pupil at Rockdale Public School in Tasmania, schoolboy Athel Margett was so unhappy with the conduct of his teacher that he wrote the following letter of complaint to the man in question: Mr. Broome. The beautifully written protest eloquently offered the teacher a glimpse of life from the viewpoint of his humiliated, dejected pupils and noted the connection between his actions and rising truancy levels. According to the Australia Post website, the letter had a positive effect. Also, slightly comical is the blue X next to Athel’s misspelling of the word ‘certificate’, hopefully scrawled by the hand of Mr. Broome in frustration as he realised he had no intelligent response to such a well-written criticism.
Transcript, with possible errors, follows.
I write this letter for the good of myself and other boys. Instead of you teachers making school a pleasure you make it a perfect misery to those who happen to be a little backward. Referring to myself, I can say that I never did like school but since I came to Rockdale I have just dreaded the thought of school. This, may I say, has all come from your sneering and poking fun at those who are not quite so well on as others. If a boy happens to have a few mistakes instead of you trying to help him in his difficulty you look over his slate, you either cane him, or spell out aloud his foolish mistakes before over 100 boys who are always ready to make fun. This is why there are so many boys who are always ready to play the truant. And therefore instead of me looking forward to school days I just long for the time when I shall receive a sitificut saying that I may leave school. And as manhood draws on I shall look back on my schooldays as a period of misery instead of a period of happiness.
Scholar at (Inferior?) Rockdale Public School