General views

Teaching a Lesson.

It’s occurred to me that I don’t have a lot of time for school teachers. I was contemplating my life, as one does from time to time, wondering how we get to where we do and how things have turned out so far. I was contemplating what my life might have been like if I’d known when I was young, what I know now. What I’d be doing for a living. That sort of thing.

It occurred to me that much of the early path my life took, was due to a failure of parenting, backed up with a failure of school teachers.

Failure of parenting due to the fact that my father was never around, he was always working, mostly he was used as threat of violent retribution for something I had done that had displeased my mother. Dad was largely a consistent absence throughout my life. Mum was home when I was young, but not really there, she seemed to be engrossed in other things. I found out decades later it was probably booze related, there are too many failures of parenting to list.

What the parenting failures led to though, was a failure at school. Exacerbated by the failures of the school teachers. That’s whole lot of failure to fight against.

I got to High School in reasonable shape. Bright, motivated, excited. Soon after arriving at a school where I was out of place, the bullies set in. My mind was quickly focused on other things. I started failing at school. Not one teacher ever tried to find out why. My parents just threatened me with various punishments if I continued to fail at school. They never asked or tried to find out why.

My teachers were quick to draw my attention to what I had got wrong, but unable to help me get it right. They didn’t bother, or weren’t interested enough to help me learn. I’m actually really good at learning stuff I’m interested in, I’m hopeless at learning about stuff that doesn’t interest me. Nobody bothered to find out what I was and wasn’t interested in, so I switched off. Neither my mother or father ever checked if I was doing any homework or not. My mother took no interest in my education, only to reprimand me regularly for not doing well enough. Mum was a school teacher by trade.

When school had, had enough of me, it was time to leave. I had no idea what people did for a living outside my small rural community. Most of my school friends were going to University. I wasn’t qualified to go to Uni, so I was only aware of a small handful of options available as far as I knew. Farming, working in a bank, or a shop, a workshop, the freezing works or the armed forces. I didn’t know what my friends were going to study at uni. Nobody told me about polytechnic and that you didn’t need U.E to go there.

My mother thought I’d have made a good school teacher, which is just about the opposite of reality. I would make a terrible school teacher. But then so do so many teachers. In my experience, school teachers don’t like kids, or their jobs. I have no idea why the many terrible teachers I encountered throughout my schooling got into the job they were so clearly unsuited for and obviously didn’t enjoy. Maybe they also had terrible advice from their mothers?

There were so many amazing career possibilities available to me that I was completely oblivious to. I was very creative, I could have trained in a number of creative work options available through polytech, I could have studied journalism, photography, the environment, design, so many things I was interested in but didn’t know were an option. Nobody told me and I didn’t know to ask, because I didn’t know it was a thing. I didn’t know you could do distance learning.

As for my friends at Uni, I had no idea how they funded living while they were studying, I assumed their rich parents paid for my friends to live while they studied. I was too polite to ask. By then I’d moved away anyway, and lost contact.

Because I didn’t know what my options might have been, I ended up as a truck driver in the army. When I left the army a few years later, I still didn’t know what people did for a living, as most ex army truck drivers, ended up as civilian truck drivers. So I worked with truck parts, and then drove a forklift in a warehouse. I happened across the sales industry by chance.

I happened across the insurance industry by chance. By now I’d started to realise what people did and got a bit of confidence, but I’d lost years doing things I wasn’t suited too because I didn’t know any better. This is because the people charged with setting me upon my course through life as successfully as possible, whatever that course might look like, spectacularly failed at it, despite it being their reason for getting out of bed in the morning. That’s inexcusable.

One of my catch phrases, is that it’s funny how things turn out. In my case, I’m extremely fortunate because I’m quite clever, quick thinking, creative, tenacious and resilient. So my life turned out pretty well so far, entirely because I was able to chart a course through it largely by being quick witted and a bit creative with my options. So many people aren’t like that though. They are toiling in dead end jobs they don’t have to be doing. They’re enduring lives they wish were better because they didn’t know how they could have done things differently, because the people tasked with helping them live their best lives, failed at doing so. Shit school teachers.

If you’re a shit school teacher, give up now and do something else. You’re ruining people’s lives.

Categories: General views

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2 replies »

  1. I hear you with this one. Memories of Dannevirke North School with bullies both in front of the classroom (Mrs Kirby, what a fantastic, enriching teacher she was*) and in the playground plus working at Wool Spinners/Feltex Carpets when I had a chance at a music career but was actively dissuaded from that path by former professional musician parents. (Dramatic) sigh.

    Glad I found your writing, Sandy.

    *Sarcasm font, where the hell is my sarcasm font?!?

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