Sunday 8 March 2009


There’s a girl in my form group who has had her stomach pumped twice since Christmas. Like most of my form group, she spends her weekends drinking so much alcohol that she makes herself extremely ill. The pupils spend registration periods discussing how off their heads they were or how they are going to get more alcohol for the next session. In my Year 9 group one girl is regularly off with hangovers, and another insists on telling me about drinking in the park and avoiding the police. One of my Year 11 boys had cuts and burns all down one arm recently, and when I asked what it was he had no shame in telling me his mate had done it with a hot poker and razor when they were drunk. I think he may have meant “stoned” or “off their heads” or similar though.

It’s absolutely endemic. And it makes me wonder how these children have the opportunities and money to sustain these dangerous hobbies. Why don’t their parents know what they’re up to? Okay, I know that some of these pupils have parents who are as bad as them: smoking their cigarettes when their own supply has run out, for example. But many of these children are from the kind of caring and supportive parents who provide piano lessons and pencil cases and educational holidays.

It also makes me ponder what my role in all this is supposed to be. I shouldn’t have to hear about all this. And if I do, then my chastisements for unsuitable conversations fall on scornful ears. My threats to pass on information to the head of year is scoffed at as the pupils tell me it’s nothing to do with me as it happens outside of school. And yet I witness the money changing hands for the lunchtime cigarettes – or worse. And I’m supposed to be educating children who are too hungover or even absent because of alcohol abuse. And suddenly to me the minutiae of my subject seem far less important than the need to straighten out these individuals and educate the whole child. But apparently, it's not my business...


Anonymous said...

I understand completely what you are saying! Same goes for the "Exhausted" post underneath. Hardly any teaching gets done some days...I feel so demotivated at those times. I was telling a friend of mine that I feel like a superhero at the end of the day...I do so much and try to save so many :-) Maybe it's time for me to get another job...not in a school this time. Yet, I do like teaching and I can't imagine what else I can do.Winning the lottery is always an option...!

StupidityContainmentFieldCompromised said...

It's typical - the parents want you to guide their childrens' moral compasses (Read:We can't be bothered teaching them right or wrong) but as soon as you try to help, they accuse you of interfering.

You can't win, you can only hope to escape with your sanity realtively intact.

Anonymous said...

These potential, leaders, academics and parents, who compete to see who can get leathered the quickest on a mixture of Vodka, Red Bull and Calpol, is truly a sign of the times... Or is it. I would argue that today’s youth is no different then twenty years ago, when the hairiest boy in the ‘O level woodwork,’ class would pass for eighteen and could get served at any drinking hole in the locality and would often get spotted worse for wear with the head of PE on a Friday evening.

I accept that two decades is a long time in education and acknowledge that morality in the, ‘average teenager,’ if there is such a thing has declined to an unacceptable level; not just for the teaching professionals who bare the brunt of recreational drugs, and alcohol, and the fallout thereof, but of society as a whole.

Society has changed so much in the past twenty years; it is nothing at all like the previous three hundred years, where everyone one knew where their place on the ladder was, probably throughout their lengthening lifespan. There is no longer an Upper, Middle and Lower class; today there is The Investment Class, Working Class and the Underclass.

What is the difference you ask? Have a think………Take a couple of minutes to think how Marty Feldman’s, ‘Understanding of Class,’ sketch would pan out on the Frost Report, if we swapped the class structure of the late 60s and early 70s to reflect life in 2009.

I could wax lyrical on many pages, rambling on about, ‘How good it was in my day,’ however; it appears that children of the seventies have failed, or ignored to instil any moral standards into today’s youth. Yes, blame your parents and their success!!

The fact is that in today’s cash rich society, (bar the last twelve months), booze, fags and recreational drugs are cheaper and more available than any time in history and the fallout of this, coupled with a decaying of reverence for one’s peers is obviously seeping into the classroom.