The way people are not taught

It’s odd. This evening, I don’t feel much like writing. Not that I’ve had a bad day or a nothing day. I just don’t know how I can make what I experienced today into entertaining reading.

This is the knife edge, with my daily scribble.

If I’m drunk or exhausted I can just extrude words into some sort of a mucky cohesive pudding, and then pass out contented. If I’m clear headed and something of note has happened, I can build a swirl of words around a kernel and then attempt to fight through insomnia. Today I’m neither drunk nor exhausted, nothing out of the ordinary has happened, I’ve worked long enough that I know I’ll sleep well, I’m tired and not particularly inspired.

I was at a school in Tottenham, getting them to think about engineering. Decent humans and a sparky school, but teacher support almost entirely lacking. Frequently I was the only adult in the room while they were running around squirting each other with hand sanitizer or whatever it was they decided was going to be more interesting than the thing I’d asked them to do. “When we were that age, we thought that age automatically garnered respect,” says the teacher to me. “Nowadays, it’s not like that. The status is at parity the whole time and you have to work hard to stay ahead.” Nah. Rubbish. My teachers were never out of the firing line for me. Any fucker that assumed I’d respect him because of who he thought he was? I had a word-axe on his legs as quickly as I could find it. I’m not going in wanting to be respected or needing it. But … I’ve got a message within all the stuff about engineering and renewable energy. “Learn that your actions have consequences for you and for others.” I think that’s part of what I’m really trying to put across. If we burn stuff to make us warm, it goes after a while and we’re cold again. How can we adjust our needs and our behaviour? And how can we learn to think long term and beyond our little desires.

I never lost those students but fuck they made me work to hold them. Defiant and clever year 9 students at a school that likely isn’t at the top of the list for any pasty-faced twat whose job it is to allocate funding. I enjoyed their spark, and their strange mixture of engagement and fear of the unknown. With some guidance I mostly helped them to avoid the easy hole of pretending towards that warm and safe disinterest that doesn’t expose your lack of knowledge. It can set in so young – this idea that we are supposed to know things and if we don’t we are dumb and we can just ignore it. How the hell can you know things until you’ve learnt them? Learning is best when we do it for the sake of learning, but the system makes it competitive and everybody’s brain is different so it pushes some people out. I never expect anyone to know specific things unless I’m playing Dilly or his ilk. Then I make an obscure joke of it: “Of course everybody knows Andra Moi Ennepe Mousa Polutropon hos mala polla planchte epei troies hieron ptoliethron epersen don’t they?” But that’s because lots of people are Dilly without my irony, and I hated them when I was in the system that is supposed to educate us.

We forget that because something is simple to us and has been for a long time, it might be new to somebody else and that’s ok. Discovery is personal and we only have so much space for new thought. We only alienate people further to the things that matter to us if we treat people like idiots for not understanding what we have known for years.

Anyway. Blah. My brain is tired. I’m gonna neck my chamomile tea and see if it sends me to sleepytown…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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