Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Is this a university or a pre-school?

Image hosting by PhotobucketToday I started the course to get my certification to teach high school in Sweden. It's geared towards people who have already finished their studies in their respective subjects, so the average student in the program is 30+, and most people seem to have some kind of professional experience. However, if we took into account the age of the four "visitors" today, the average age would be lowered significantly. There was a six year old daughter of one of the women in the class who sat patiently drawing while her mother listened to the lecture. This was not a problem. She was a well-behaved little girl who was old enough to know when it was time to sit quietly. However, there were also three, I repeat three, not one, not two, but THREE babies under the age of one who also "participated" in the lecture. They were the most talkative members of the audience. One of them (and of course, it had to be the one sitting directly behind me) fussed throughout the entire lecture, and the class was continually interrupted as one mother or another got up to cradle her infant. My favorite part was really the slurping noises coming from behind as the mother in the last row started nursing her child during the class.

I'm sorry, I know that Sweden is a very child-friendly country, set up in such a way that women are able to combine motherhood and working life, and that's one of the things that I appreciate about living here, but THERE IS A TIME AND A PLACE, and a lecture hall filled with 100 other students is NOT such a time and place. Ever heard of a babysitter?? Either Swedish universities need to set up some kind of childcare facilities on-campus, or leave the kid at home with dad or grandma. Or pay your 16 year-old neighbor 50 SEK an hour to watch the midget.

Maybe I would have a different attitude if I had kids of my own, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. It's obvious that my biological clock hasn't started ticking yet. I really don't mean to be insensitive, but if it's okay to bring your noisy baby to class, maybe next time I'll bring my cat. If the person next to me is allergic to cats?? Too bad! Maybe I'm allergic to babies!!


Blogger Francis S. said...

You've obviously never attended a business meeting with wailing two-year-olds.

We have a huge box filled with toys at my office. It's incredibly useful.

(By the way, It was great meeting your charming self yesterday... amid all the political sparring, the usual discussion of Swedishnessarianism that is just a hair shy of bashing that happens when a bunch of expats get together, among other things.)

11:54 PM  
Blogger Curiosa said...

No, can't say that I have (attended a meeting with wailing two-year-olds). What I'm curious about is what is the point in paying really high taxes to finance the daycare system if you don't actually put the children in the daycare?

11:57 PM  
Anonymous mia said...

My guess is these mothers used their maternity leave to educate themselves at the same time. (ie the kids still too young for daycare). Which is a good thing. However interrupted classes by noisy babies - yeah that would have annoyed me too to bits!!

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Mio said...

When you have children you will probably feel that everybody loves your kid and that those who dont are freaks :P

9:26 AM  
Blogger Blogoholic said...

Bring cute little Ullrick to your next class and see what happens!

I don't think that kids of any age should follow their parents to school/work/meetings.

Get yourself a babysitter or don't go if you can't get one!

Regards: mother of two kids

11:23 AM  
Blogger Curiosa said...

mia, i see absolutely no problem that mother's use their maternity leave to education themselves, and i can even understand that once in awhile there might be some unavoidable situation where they have to take their children to a class. however, given the fact that there were THREE infants and one six-year-old on the FIRST DAY gave me the impression that this is going to be a regular occurrence, which i really don't think is appropriate given the fact that babies will interject into the lecture whenever they feel like it. the older girl, on the other hand, was extremely well-behaved and old enough to know that she needs to sit there quietly.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous mia said...

Yes I totally agree. There is a time and place as you said before. I would have been really annoyed! I get annoyed already when I am disturbed in class by course mates talking or even whispering!! LOL!

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know if you make a habit of reading The Local, but they ran a column three days after yours that makes it sound like the author is in the exact same class...

I'm normally pretty patient in such circumstances, but in your class I would've suggested that the kids go play with a chloroform-soaked rag or something. Ugh.


1:57 AM  
Blogger Cold Feet said...

I actually just realised there are about 10 babies in my office. I had thought they were all the same ubiquitous baby, but reading your entry made me pay better attention.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Curiosa said...

Cold Feet,

Either that, or the one "Swedish Baby" is like the fruitcake that you keep passing off to your neighbours. It keeps coming back.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

It really is unbelievable! There is a teacher at work that often brings 2 and sometimes all three of his boys (ages 5-10) with him to his classes on Fridays. Gosh, I was a single parent for 12 years and the only time my kids came to work with me was for a Christmas party! There is a time and a place!

11:57 PM  

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