Friday, February 08, 2008

"I don't want to play!!"

The words uttered by a class of young people scared stiff of looking stupid before the rest of their ideological group.

"What do you want to do then?"

"Nothing, we normally sit here and talk."

"What do you want to talk about?"

"Nothing! And stop asking me questions."

"Umm...ok! I'll continue with the rest of you who do want to have a laugh, and learn something."

"I want to learn something!"

"No, you just said you want to talk!"

"Na! I want to...."

"Go on...."

"Well just...laugh!"

"Listen give me a chance, give me twnty minutes of your time and if we get no where, we'll talk about why we haven't acheieved anything."

"Ok then."

"Great, right lets all pretend we are cats and mice. No, not like real ones! Tom and Jerry style! Ok!"

To be honest I didn't expect them to go for the T+J style of playing a game. But I was surprised.

It's shocked me today how close to the burden and harsh reality of life some children are.

One young lad began to openly shed water from his eyes as later we looked at a simple focuss line. Just the simple pressure of a room of class mates (whom openly throw thoughtless words of discouragement) looking at him doing nothing but taking part was to much for him. (He recovered and a massive part of my heart opened there and then.)

The staff at my new job are great. Very giving people. Trained teachers with an air of friendly authority. How can I possibly help?

I found the answer today after one young lad said to me "I don't want to play!!" As I observed the group, seemingly so wrapped up in the mighty 'cussing' war, It dawned on me that things are very different to when I was at school. We wanted to play all the time. Today if you can get through a lesson without ritual arguments you are doing well.

I guess i'm beginning to see more of what you need to be a teacher. I might be wrong but it almost appears that the giving that one affords for the youth of today, (our future) is wrapped in protection. Like a parent who protects a 10 year old from 18 certificated films.

Why do you have to fear standing in front of the group. Why do you have to 'cuss' and lash out as if it's the most natural thing in life.

There is fun to be had.

Well, I'm not going to bring out the bubble wrap. The gloves are off! What can I do to help?


As the group relaxed and realised that i'm not as crazy as my 5"6 stocky frame suggests, they began to trust. Only once they could see I was not there to make them look stupid would they enter into the session.

I'll use this as a starting point. Names I must get to know their names!! Identity is going to be important!

It's been a good day!


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