As a kid, I grew up in a working class mining community with casual racism and toothless alcoholics; the local village pub even hosted a festival for Nazi’s- good times! My schooling was poor with mould growing on the walls, teachers who tended to either not know what they were doing or take a fancy for young girls- or both and the kids were frustrated and bored, unable to channel their emotions into creative outlets and instead opting for the aggressive approach where hurling bricks at anything that moves and head butting each other in their free time was their priority.
Granted, inner city schools get the headlines for poorer grades and gang culture but I find it wrong that education ministers are focussing their efforts on seemingly these schools and these schools alone. Inner city schools now have more funding than ever for new buildings, better equipment and adequate CRB checked staff while it seems that crumbly old schools on the outskirts get ignored.
The kids from my cesspit of a school still carried knives, still took hard drugs and still came out with inadequate grades. Our school was a decrepit building that was temporarily used as a hospital during WW2, many of the fixtures and fittings (I’m sure) remained from that era so it was no surprise when a window fell on my head. The governors of the area (I’m equally sure) were pretty corrupt and instead of using government funding to help enrich these kids’ lives (or invest in new windows), they spent the money on a new conference room, a reception and a new board for the front.
The teaching was equally poor, my school successfully managed to employ the most god awful human beings I have ever encountered who led me to be uninterested in what could have been eye opening subjects. The poor teaching led to my frustration and their generally care free attitudes taught me to not value my education; I can just sail through life like these guys! When, as we all should know, education is a gift that we are insanely lucky to have.
Upon starting at my first college, I had no knowledge of time keeping, deadlines or generally working hard. I failed miserably, along with all of my old class mates. My school sent me a letter of congratulations for completing my A Levels and that is when I realised that I was one of the highest achievers from that dump.
I must quote the drug addicts from this god awful place who say that ‘England is going to the dogs’, and although I am not patriotic and I doubt patriotism is a word they can even spell, my eyes have been opened to the working class oppression in many areas like mine. There is a theory that as unemployment rises, the intellectual members of society who can change the community tend to flee to less crap places with better employment making the situation worst. But as a metaphorical captain of my metaphorical ship, I shall remain in this wasteland of a cabin and attempt to make it more comfortable for the brief time that I am in it, maybe hang up a metaphorical poster or something.
So I decided my career path would be to teach in one of these giant turds so at least when the building is rotting and infested with rats, these kids can have an understanding figure, who’s been there, who won’t hit on them or see being cool as priority and oh my how I will pray that I don’t end up like them.