Tag Archives: youth

The Problem With Teachers

Positivity Link: Neighbour Saves Child from Fire

You, the only one at the back not with a hand up.

There is a problem with teachers. No, not that one. The problem with some teachers is one which is rather similar to the problem with students; they become too used to the standard role expected of them and dislike the learning and change that is also part of the job. There is the expectancy by the teachers that in a group of students, at least one will be a “bad apple”, and this always occurs. There is an expectancy in the new student body that somewhere in the maze of corridors and other teenagers, there will be a teacher who is laughably poor at their job. Lo and behold, we are never disappointed.

Most teachers are not like this. I am in college, which is Year 12 – 13 over here in England, and four out of five of my teachers are capable at their jobs. Good at lesson planning, good at getting to the point, even good at evoking interest from tired teenagers at 8:30 in the morning. They make you want to learn, which makes it easier to learn.

But there is the last teacher. The one who never plans a lesson, forgets that we are sixteen and not six, and wants to believe that they are always correct. The one ready to raise hell if they perceive even the slightest doubt as to the validity of their teaching method, not far removed from the pastor ready to lambast his population at the first doubt shown towards his interpretations. The one who, on the rare times they are able to connect to one student, spends the rest of the lesson re-attempting to relight that single spark of interest to the detriment of the rest of the class and the lesson.

You all remember that teacher.

The worst thing about them, though, is that they don’t stay in high school. You find them in your parents, your older siblings or relatives. They pop-up in university, and then in your workplace under the guise of your boss or colleague or that guy constantly standing at the water cooler who you aren’t even sure works there. Sometimes they become a nagging partner or precocious child. Either way it is the eternal teacher problem, where they must be right and you must be wrong, where it’s their way or the high way. The best way to combat it is to smile, nod, listen, and then dash away and learn an opinion unbiased by their or your own inexperience.

My teacher problem won’t solve itself. I’ve simply taken to reading ahead of topics and around the subject to make up for what we’re not being taught. I like the teacher. They try to be nice, and they’re generally harmless in their one-outfit wardrobe. They’re fascinated with the idea of my “exotic” family background and we generally get along well. However, when it comes to their job they’re not the best. We students recognise this. Other teachers have recognised this too, warning us that this particular teacher is an acquired taste. I’m afraid to say that with exams already looming after so short a period of teaching, that this taste is not likely to be acquired any time soon.

Fresh Starts

Don’t you just hate fresh starts? Or is it just me?

On Wednesday, I will be thrown into a new school to join the mass of hormone-driven young adolescents known as Year Twelve, a.k.a Senior Year if you’re American. 😉 Sure, I go along with a bunch of high school mates I’ve known for just under two years, but the majority of the student body will be strangers to me. There will be new teachers, a new floor plan to get used to, five lessons for me to scramble around finding, and glass doors to walk headfirst into (I almost always end up doing this in a new building). Most importantly, I will fail horribly at introducing myself.

I always feel incredibly helpless when I’m thrown into a new environment. The confidence I’m told to muster up never arrives. Does anyone else feel the same way, whether it be at a new school, workplace or town?

I’m very bad at meeting new people. I’m rather introverted, so I tend to be shy around people I don’t know. I do try to speak more, yet it rarely works. I’ve noticed that extroverts tend to start conversations by talking about some aspect of themselves, and I can’t do that well because I’ve always found talking about myself boring (and a bit narcissistic). I can’t start things off with my name, either, because people always mispronounce both my fore and surname. The first they never seem to hear properly, the second they notice is African and so they attempt to pronounce (I have never understood why) with some strange accent. They never get it right.

But perhaps I worry too much. Perhaps by some miracle someone might one day pronounce both names right; perhaps at the end of two years, someone might even be able to spell it correctly. Perhaps someone might find my oddness somewhat endearing, and maybe when I walk into that glass door, nobody will be around.

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Hopefully, school starting won’t disrupt to a great extent my ability to post frequently. I know I’ve been a bit sketchy during the past week just attempting to get ready for it, but the thing about the school period is that it tends to help me get organised, oddly enough.

The Problem With Teen Writers

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No, this post will not be a long complaint about how poor teenage writing irrevocably is. Though as a teenager, I can honestly say that a lot of it sucks. I’ve seen it. I’ve edited it. I’ve been there, though I can confidently say that I’ve moved on from that.

No, this post is about how the world sees teenage writers. In my previous posts, a great number of people reacted with surprise when they learnt that I was a sixteen-year-old girl.  I’m sure some people really think I’m some balding forty-year-old guy somewhere. Because people weren’t only shocked at my approach to the subject matter, they were shocked at the grammar, punctuation, and intelligence with which I wrote. I’m no super-genius, I await my GCSE results on Thursday with bated breath. So why is it so rare to find a teenager who can write well, and write intelligibly? Why is such a thing a shock to the masses? Why is it such a shock to me?

The answer is: I don’t know.

Teenagers aren’t stupid. The times may have changed, but we haven’t actively regressed in our intelligence. Even the advent of chat-speak hasn’t significantly impaired our ability to use the English language, because some of the smartest people in my school spL lyk dis and get A*s without a problem (then again, our grading system is suspect at the best of times). Yet if a ten-year-old starts to write a novel, and you compare their writing to the average nineteen-year-old’s, you would not be able to tell the difference. That isn’t a joke, I see this everyday. You’ve probably noticed it here on WordPress–many teenage bloggers do not have the faintest idea of how to construct a sentence in regards to proper grammar and punctuation. And you’ve probably noticed the same trend amongst some bloggers in their early twenties, who have left school and even gotten through university without learning to correct this problem.

So what do we do? Let me tell you.

The biggest insult you can give a writer is that they write like a teenage girl (or Stephanie Meyer, but then that’s the same thing). Yet good teenage writers do exist, like S.E. Hinton, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Helen Oyeyemi, and some people would add Christopher Paolini, though I personally don’t think that he is. Admittedly, these people seem to be the exception to the rule, and there still exists the stigma that all teenage writers are bad, which I discourages many young people from even trying to be better. But. There are blogs. And there are talented teenager bloggers out there, and websites dedicated to helping aspiring youth writers. There are even a few competitions for us to get involved in if one looks hard enough. So I suppose what I’m really trying to say is: next time you see a good teen blogger, give ’em a pat on the back or a word of encouragement. If you meet a kid who says they’d like to be an author one day, don’t laugh and suggest something more “practical” (God I hate that). Point them to a forum, or a to competition they can enter. And try not to strangle them when they say: “Thx, LOL!”

The Thank You Post

A hug for everyone, courtesy of Pooh and friends. ;)

And I truly mean it. Thank you, all of you who have taken the time to read and comment on my Freshly Pressed post. Both those who agree and those who disagree with me, and especially the latter for commenting with the respect each human is due another. Because of the subject matter, I was worried that a feature would mean many negative or even downright abusive comments, or that the whole comments section would descend into a gay-Christian bashing war. I’m glad to say that the WordPress community has proven me wrong on both accounts.

There are so many comments that my Gmail and WordPress apps have both crashed multiple times with the notifications. 😉 I watched my daily views shoot up from a max of 16 to a whopping 1,583 and counting. Numerous people have liked my post, or shown their support, or at the very least wished me luck in my spiritual journey and life.  Many have resolved to pray for me, and regardless of our disagreements I thank you too, because this is only an extension of love. I never imagined my post or thoughts could attract attention like this, and I’m touched from all the people telling me that I’d made a difference to them with my maturity and refreshing ideas. I’m glad I could make that difference with this little expression of thought.

I am a woman, I am sixteen, and I am a Christian. I might be critical of the flawed idea that is religion, but my faith in Jesus Christ is a conviction for which I do not need to fall back on religion. I have certain ideas about Christianity, and whether or not I or you believe homosexuality is a sin is irrelevant to gays and Christians living together peacefully. My post was made to say that re-conciliation is possible, not to push my views down your throat. I have my own personal relationship with God, He understands me and I try my best to understand Him. Some people say my understanding is wrong, but that understanding is still my own and is no greater or lesser than another’s understanding of God.

A big hug to all my new followers, likers and commenters, thank you for giving time out of your day for me. 😀 I’m sorry I haven’t answered everyone’s comments yet, with the influx of comments if you have any personal queries you want quickly and directly answered it would be best to send me an email. Thank you all and God Bless!

Not Last Summer’s Riot, Last Summer’s Rut.

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Immediately, you know what this blog post is about. Not because of the media uproar last year, but rather because of the insidious reporting methods the media is using to stir up feelings and emotions again this year. For, quite aside from the Olympic reporting which comprises 90% of the July/August news (at least in the UK), many national papers have written brief, nearly identical articles about the London riots of yesteryear.

YES. This is August, granted that perhaps mention should be given a year on, especially when the events destroyed (and took) so many lives. However, surveys on the possibility of another rioting epidemic are unnecessary. Attempting to go back to the ‘roots’ of the story are unnecessary. Another debate about whether the riots were a racial issue, whether they weren’t a racial issue, is unnecessary. Especially with all the sensationalist headlines thrown in. Because that is what this is all about: sensationalism, papers hot off the print, and ultimately money. The media had a field day last August, and by God they’re looking for another one.

And it’s just a bit much.

Stripped down, to the basics, last Summer’s riots were about the youth. More importantly, the lack of correlation between the youth and other ages. “Back in the day”, our parents said, “we had to work for things.” They earned that first wage, bike, house, car. Today, we expect things. We expect that, after going to school for x years we’ll get a house, a car, and a job. A good job, not manual labour, because that’s for the immigrants (who are invading our country! WAAAHH!). God forbid you ever have to wait tables, that you’re ever in the position of listening to a senile old man enunciate his order in perfect monotony while you resist the urge to later spit in his food. Only failures end up there. And we expect to succeed, because we’ve been told as much. Because when a teacher asks a class of primary school children if they want to be a Prime Minister, and the sixteen pairs of hands fly up, you won’t hear: “Sorry kids. You didn’t go to Eton. You’re f*cked.” And so when the new, expectant generation first glimpses the great void that is to be the rest of their lives, fighting, rushing and competing to be successful because they’ve just realised that the world owes you nothing…we get riots. Because those kids want to delude themselves that they have that expected success, so they will smash and grab the things they are told are signs of success: the best shoes, a great TV, the newest iPhone. Or drugs, for a high that can make them feel on top of the world and successful. Or gangs, where they feel successful because of the group mentality, because they’ve pleased a leader or gained a reputation amongst their peers. Or just plain hedonism. Because success is whatever makes you feel good, right? Right?

It’s just a bit sad. We can’t understand the last generation, we see the success, but we expect where they have earned. Somewhere between the generations something went wrong. Maybe when the last was getting up-to-speed with new technology, wars, multiculturalism, whatever, they slipped up and forgot to help the next. Last summer’s riots? Just the first crack, the first rut, to show this problem Britain is so ready to hide. Because we Brits know how stubborn we are. And I suppose other countries view us as that tea-sipping nutter. Well, occasionally, we spill that tea. And when we’re trying to clean up, we make a bigger mess, and our nervous, characteristically sarcastic joke falls flat.