Private Tutors teach us about the way things really are

Everyone wants the best for their children. That’s only human. But here’s an intriguing thought: what happens when wanting the best actually harms them? Especially of you can pay for it, and by more than anyone else can?

It’s in that spirit that we draw your attention, gentle readers, to a piece in Vogue by a woman called Sarah Thomas, who spent several years acting as a private tutor to the children of the-well, not rich exactly, but very, very very rich. The ones who go around on private jets and appear to be taking an increasing share of the wealth which we are all supposed to be creating. [1] As you would expect, it’s a world of giant yachts, mansions, under water hotels, infinity pools and ruthlessly enforced hierarchies. But it’s also a world of the driven and the neurotic, the consequences of which are born by the children. One lass was hooked up to electrodes to help her pass her GCSE* in biology. Another was held in a Cote D’Azur villa(her parents’ fourth home) but spent six hours a day on mathematics revision. There’s more: but our killer quote concerns a 13 year old lad called Vova:

What have I done to deserve this?” is how he greeted me, pulling his Gucci hoodie over his face. He’d been deposited in a vast white elephant of a house in Belgravia for the summer, with a guardian and a tutor, because his parents thought his grades needed improvement. They remained in Russia, and between lessons Vova WhatsApped friends back home and played Fortnite, machine-gun fire ricocheting around this empty palace, hastily furnished with plexiglass tables and chairs. [2]

Our modern catechism is taught from birth, at least to anyone born after 1980. The purpose of life is to get as rich as possible, and thus enjoy as many of the bright, shiny things that alone confer true grace. We think the experience of these children hints at the hollowness of all that, but we fear for them in a darker, sinister sense. For as they sit at desks, a hungry, angry mob is slowly gathering in the streets outside. And it could make their lives very unpleasant indeed.

  • an examination administered to schoolchildren at 16 in UK

with thanks to Mr P Seymour



#sarah thomas #inequality #disadvantage

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