I’ve had my share of badly behaved children in my classes. In the course of a career spanning over thirty years, I’ve come across the brilliant, psychotic, insecure, indolent and irremediably stupid. In the warm, indigo glow of history, kids seemed to be roguish, mischievous, inattentive, sometimes unwilling to scoop up any small pearls cast before them, but relatively easy to persuade and comfortably disciplined by a raised eyebrow or two. Later, grammar school girls were well-behaved, determined and usually successful, followed by a rag-bag rainbow of international students, often bewildered by scientific English. These, often with unpronounceable names, attempted to access British examination courses with varying degrees of success. And, now we’re here, where F and G grades are commonplace, not because the student body is necessarily less able, but because there is for many no sense of struggle, no embodiment of effort and no consequent pride in achievement. Someone reminded me the other day about so-called ‘indigo children’ whose parents believe them to be in some way gifted or extraordinary. Although there are no scientific studies lending credible weight to the existence of such children, or their traits, the phenomenon appeals to parents whose children have been diagnosed with learning disabilities or parents seeking to believe that their children are in some way special, in some cases, paranormal. This is viewed by sceptics as a way for parents to avoid proper paediatric pharmaceutical treatment or a psychiatric diagnosis which implies imperfection. In this country, the sceptics might just be right. There’s been a lot of brouhaha linking ADHD with indigo children – some even suggest that such ‘challenging behaviours’ are the next stage in human evolution, which is a lot more palatable than telling a parent that their child is merely lazy, arrogant, self-serving and attention-seeking. Meantime, I spend my time either babysitting or zookeeping.