I feel I should start by saying hates a strong word, perhaps dislike or become disillusioned would be more appropriate, but it doesn't have the same ring, so allow me some creative license here.
I spoke previously about being a bit more open with my views, controversial or not, so please take this all as my own personal opinion and don't be offended.
I've learnt more in the last 4 months traveling than possibly any other time in my life. Not just things about life or myself but genuine facts. I've learnt about the history of every country I've been too, I've read autobiographies and visited museums. Some of it has truly shocked me. When I say Holocaust, we think of 1940s and WW2, but what about the things that happened next? I assumed that people learnt from this and we didn't commit such atrocities again. Anybody heard of Pol Pot? Anyone? Killed nearly a third of his country's people; men, women and children. I'm talking millions here, and when? 1978. Yep you heard me. But I had no idea, no one told me, I didn't learn it in school because we were too busy learning what was on the curriculum. I spent nearly 2 terms learning about race relations in America in the 60s. The last of the racism in the Western world, a huge success when it was over and desegregation occurred. Any mention of apartheid? Nope, none. When did South Africa end apartheid? 1994. I had no idea, it wasn't on the curriculum I was too busy memorizing dates and case studies and other facts for my exam.
What's my point here?
The curriculum, frankly, is pointless. I'm fed up of teaching students to pass exams, why can't they learn about the things that interest them, variety, and become rounded individuals; not robots who can pass a paper that I've been drilling them on for 5 years. I'm aware a lot of my points are unrealistic, if we can't test them how can we see progress, honestly at this point I don't care how we test them. How about we don't?
The controversial part
Honestly, I think the UK education system is a year or two from crumbling. And I'm not sure I want to be a part of it when it does. An education system with no teachers won't work. We are losing more teachers than we’re gaining, most schools have more supplies than Costco, as a friend of mine put it. When you lose your staff, your experienced staff, you lose your behavior management. Once that's gone it’s hard to bring back, and it makes the environment hostile at best. Students lose the sliver of respect they have and things head downhill, fast.
But that's ok, right government? Because then you save money on salaries and force the schools to become academies because of the mountain of evidence that shows academies help failing schools, oh wait? And the best part about being an academy? Teachers lose a lot of their rights, like our right to a break. I know teachers who have been asked to be on duty during break and lunch to help with all the behavior issues, so when do they get to eat? In their PPE time apparently, so when do they mark and plan? At home, in the evenings of course, because they have meetings after school with parents to reassure them everything is ok. But is it?
I'm finding it hard to stay positive about a system that is expecting SEND students to sit the same paper as everyone else. I'm finding it hard to stay positive about a system that thinks by making tests harder you automatically make students smarter. I'm finding it hard to stay positive about a system that doesn't care about the mental health of it's people.
This is two fold because there's the health of teachers and the health of students. It's been in the media a lot that young people are struggling and I'm not surprised, there's a lot of pressure on them and the waiting list for help is ridiculous. I've known students with problems who just can't get help, at a time when they are so vulnerable as well. Find the money UK and put a councilor in every school. They could even help the staff. The overworked, underappreciated staff. I've seen teachers whose parents are in hospital fighting for their life be told they can't leave because there's no one to cover. I've seen a teacher nearly pass out and try to stay and teach because they had year 11. And me? I've lost count of the times I've taught in pitch black, drugged up on a lot of painkillers teaching through a migraine (doubly funny because both stress and painkillers cause migraines!). Now theoretically, yes we could have left, however it's not only frowned upon by SLT, those who cover you get annoyed too. Not to mention the students, who won't learn what they need to. Mental health is not taken seriously and it needs to be. I've spoken before about how I suffered with depression in my first year of teaching, without the help I received I probably wouldn't be here, so what does that say about these children not getting help? We need to be able to talk about this. Personally I'd be happy to talk to my class about what I went through, but I'm sure the school wouldn't let me, or perhaps it would be a bad idea anyway, undermine my authority or something. A while ago I read an article saying that gay teachers should talk to the students about being gay to battle homophobia in school, there was a lot of support and criticism and I heard no more, I guess the same arguments apply here.
Like I said before these are just my views and I'm going to reiterate that because I'm about to get political. Which is really hard to do so far away from home, but I'm staying up to date with various news sites and of course Facebook. I have to say I'm voting Labour. I'm voting because I like their policies and because I think a soft brexit is the best we can hope for at this point, but mainly I'm voting because our education system needs help and the conservatives have shown that they don't know how to do that, time and time again.
I'm hoping to hell and back that our education system isn't as bad as it seems and that when these students sit the first 9 to 1 exams, all is ok. For their sake, I hope we haven't a screwed an entire generation because there's a lot that generation needs to solve. They will be the curers of diseases, the saviours of the planet and the ones to help those who can't help themselves. Hopefully.
It's a tricky question and I'm not sure after reading this you'll get an actual answer (full disclosure) but it's bugged me for a while, as a person and as a teacher. I had a friend who wouldn't train to be a teacher after university as she didn't feel like an adult yet. At the time I told her I'm not sure you'll ever feel like an adult but believe it or not you are one.
The law says you're an adult at 16. You can get married, have sex, move out of your parents house and be tried as an adult in court. Looking back at 16 year old me, I was battling with an eating disorder, hasn't even taken my GCSEs and was constantly arguing with my parents. Was I an adult, legally maybe, but really? No. I had no idea about anything, I could tell you a lot of facts, blow your mind with mathematics but in terms of surviving on my own, I'd be lost. Although my sweet 16 was a murder mystery dinner party, so at least there was hope!
If not 16 then 18? Now I can drink, I'm in college I had my first actual job and I had a car and could drive. I'd also already crashed said car and called my dad first, before the insurance or police, so again maybe not. I'm also pretty sure you couldn't call me an adult after seeing the silly things I did whilst drunk. I mean I broke bones, plural. So for some maybe 18 was when they felt like an adult but for me, still living at home with my leg in a cast, I wasn't feeling very adult. I was however feeling pretty independent, I had a car after all, I could go wherever I wanted, and I did. I visited friends in far places and possible universities, I think if you'd asked me back then i might have said I was an adult but hindsight is allways 20 20.
I was one of many people who took a gap year before university as I didn't get into medical school, so I had my job and even a second job. I was a playworker at an afterschool club as well as a receptionist. But I'll be honest, all my money went to my local pub, I didn't travel the world, though I did travel England. After my gap year it was university, I moved out for the first time and had a budget! I definitely felt more independent, but my parents still gave me an allowance and I was living with a lot of other people. I joined clubs and became a leader in those clubs, I even became the vice president of sport for my entire university! I began to feel responsible and dare I say, like an adult.
So 22 I guess for me is when it started. I started to feel like an adult. After university I went straight into teacher training, and let me tell you nothing will make you feel less like an adult than hanging out with children all day! I was not ready to become a role model! I was still getting drunk, I didn't have my life under control, in fact it was falling apart. So not 22, no definitely not. That was just a momentary illusion!
I feel like my first year I kind of blagged being an adult and the second year I had 2 personalities, I was an adult at work and just shy of an adult at home. I still watched Disney movies, let my parents pay for things and was still figuring out what I wanted from life.
Now half way around the world at 25 I find I'm in the same position, I still don't know what I want yet. I have a thousand options and I don't know which to choose. But what I have realised it's that I was right years ago when I told my friend you'll never feel like an adult, but you are one. I get it now. I am an adult, and sometimes I feel like one, sometimes I don't. I'm on my own, independent, I'm budgeting, planning and surviving. I also don't have a job, don't have any real bills and miss home, a lot. I know I'm an adult, but it doesn't always feel like it. But I bet my Mum feels that way too, and I bet I'll still feel that way when I've got kids of my own.
So the moral of the story? Enjoy the things you enjoy, if you want to act like a kid, do it. But I'm sorry to say you are actually an adult, but that is just a word, it means nothing! Thank goodness!! Now to watch beauty and the beast :-)