What is it about French teachers (professeurs or profs) and plastic? They’re obsessed with the stuff. I’m obviously  not going to get on with Ruadhri’s new teacher. On the list of fournitures that he brought home last night – and which really should have been sent out to parents during the holidays – was the inevitable demand for pochettes plastiques, 100 to be precise.

In the past, I’ve caved and given the kids some recycled ones to take to school. Well, this year I’m sticking my heels in. I have written a note in Ruadhri’s cahier de liaison to explain that I won’t be providing said pochettes because they are unnecessary and about as environmentally unfriendly as it’s possible to be. They take between 200 and 500 years to biodegrade. Not every single sheet of paper that the children work on has to be put in one. In fact, none of them do. Surely, surely teachers can see that. It’s by making little gestures like not using plastic sleeves simply for the sake of it that we might actually get somewhere long term with combatting climate change.

Ruadhri’s cahier de liaison is itself encased in one of those hideous plastic covers which the school has provided. The book has a good, stiff cardboard cover anyway and will happily last the year with normal care. It doesn’t need the flipping cover. More plastic junk. Grr.

Teachers tend to ask for more than the kids actually need. Every year they ask for feutres, felt tips, and these only get used a few times. They dry out long before they’re worn out. They also ask for batonnets de colle, glue stick – same story as the felt tips. They even encourage the kids to use blanco, Tippex, or ink erasers to cover up mistakes with. What’s wrong with just crossing them out and carrying on? That doesn’t require something chemical based and encased in plastic. And we had to get Rors an ardoise, literally a slate, a couple of years ago. However, these days these are – you guessed it – plastic, and require special marker pens to go with them that hardly get used. I can’t see why the children don’t use paper and pencil instead of the ardoises. Rors is vague as to what they actually do with them at school, so almost certainly not much.

I don’t want to make life awkward for Rors by protesting to teacher. But I’ve got to the point where I am so exasperated by people who really can make a difference – here teachers when guiding parents what to buy – simply turning a blind eye to the realities of climate change and demanding pointless, plastic products that will outlast us all by centuries and add to the problems of pollution and landfill. It’s ridiculous and irresponsible.

OK, time to put the soapbox away now!