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them so have you ever thought about teaching?
me ha! no I'd rather shoot myself
Them Why?
Me because the education system sucks beyond reckoning
them its not that bad, it could do with more money...
Me No I mean its inherently flawed, taking thirty kids to one adult and teaching them a very narrow range of things that "matter" is ridiculous and damaging
Them It works for most of them
Me no it doesnt, lots of them fall through, and even the ones it does work for dont actually find out what they are good at, what if someone is really unacademic but really good at something that isn't seen as particularly important, like music, or cooking, or building? the education system should give space for people to find and develop their potential not squash it
Them That will never happen

Good grief, also there's always an underlying assumption in this line of questioning that what I'm doing is less important than teaching, that just because I'm not a "Teacher" means that I don't teach, and I just want to scream at them sometimes that I have spent most of my professional life rescuing and supporting kids that their oh so precious education system has failed and abandoned

This is not a rant against teachers I think teaching is a valuable, hard, thankless job, its a rant against the education system and the people who think what I do isn't as important as formal teaching.
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I started work today on the youth club summer scheme, its only a fortnight and its voluntary but if I do this and offer myself for more voluntary work I might get a paid job out of it come September if they get funding. To be honest it isn’t my ideal job but it is youth work and a place to start making contacts

I really don’t like the manager he is kind of too authoritarian for my liking prime example, we went paintballing and he told the young people to keep their masks on or the instructors would stop them playing and he just kept repeating himself when the young people complained as if they should do what he said just because he said it. It didn’t occur to him to tell them that the reason for the rule was because if a paintball hits you in the eye it will blind you. My youth work ethos is firstly never to make pointless rules (whicj it seems he does too often) and then always explain the reason behind the rule if you have to make one. My experience with young people is that though teaching them to build their own boundaries and self control is much more time and emotionally difficult it is much better for them in the long run.

Also the manager called two of the girls "bitches" as a joke which I'm really not happy with

Now to paintballing. to me some of the main ideas of youth work is to get young people to work together to get them to stretch themselves, to teach them they don’t need to compete with other people and to learn to negotiate through life instead of fight. Paintballing is just about the total opposite of all that I think youth work should be, How is teaching young people war games going to help them live their lives productively?

So I’ve been thinking about this, to be honest anyway my preferred youth work is much more sharp edge with the waifs and strays and nutters that everybody else has given up on, but I have to start somewhere and maybe I can give these young people a different perspective from the one they are used to getting from their current youth workers.


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October 2010

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