Before you read the rest of this post, please understand that I am completely in awe of the man in the article. To value education so highly that he did what he did is an inspiration. The chance to learn is such a privilege, and to have it on the doorstep like we do in this country makes us very lucky, it also makes us forget.
It set me thinking about education in Britain and the barriers to learning that exist here: language issues, learning difficutlies, crowded, underfunded schools forced dto cut subjects from timetables due to budget cuts that mean fewer teachers, the remaining teachers and students pressurised by the constantly changing political agenda and then I thought about the wider scheme of things. Perhaps the biggest barrier to learning in this country is the culture – society has made education ‘uncool’, it’s made it an obligation that must be fulfilled not an experience to be cherished between the national curriculum and a celebrity culture in the media that values almost every other personality trait above intelligence and a government that gives the message that teachers are to blame for everything that young people do wrong is it any wonder that a lot of our young pepple see schools as prisons?
I started thinking about my job, and the kids I work with.
I work with young people who suffer with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties . They struggle to access education for a completely different reason, and some times the journeys we make are frighteningly long, even though they only spend 30 minutes on the bus in the morning. They have, for one reason or another in their turbulent lives, been told that they are not worth educating or that even if they wanted to learn they are not smart enough to face up to the challenge. Their behaviour often appears as spoilt, wasteful or arrogant but they are reactions born of fear. They live unstable lives, with parents who don’t care or aren’t strong enough themselves to keep their children safe. I know that it doesn’t seem to be a struggle to a lot of people but the barriers they face to learning are real, they just aren’t so easily understood. If I went out in the morning unsure of where I’d be sleeping or what would happen when I got home I don’t know what I’d do. That’s what our kids face. And yet, they still turn up every morning, smile at the staff and give it a go…. well most of the time.