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in England, p.2
A letter from a teenager
A convo about
A letter from a teenager
I've missed seeing you online, but I've been reading
your site and thinking about some of the things
you've written. I read about Darren as well and I've
heard of the school he goes to, think I've gone past
it once or twice but I've never been there. Anyway I
think I've been being too defensive recently and not
quite said how I actually feel about the whole school
When I was younger I loved school, I went to a really
good state school about 15 minutes walk from my
house, where there was no uniform, we called the
teachers by their first names, never got homework and
when we were among the oldest students at the school
we were really encouraged to look after the little
ones- if we finished our work early we'd go help out
in the nursery class and my friends and I helped
teach a little Eastern European boy how to read and
learned to speak sign language to a girl with down
syndrome and help her to learn to talk.
But, then I chose to go to an independent (or
"private") secondary school and,
admittedly, I have always hated going to an
independent school. EM Forster said that independent
schools produced "developed bodies, partially
developed minds and undeveloped hearts" and I
think there's some truth in that. It partly hit me
the other day when I was at a party with my school
friends and I had a cigarette and suddenly everyone
seemed shocked and "told me off" for
smoking, although I explained I hardly ever smoke.
Somebody actually stole my cigarette and put it out.
I was sitting outside on my own, it wasnt hurting
anyone else, it made me angry that they could judge
me so much and tell me what to do as though they're
better than me because I smoke once in a while.
I realised theres a big difference between me and
most of them. Most of my friends go to state schools,
and dont have a lot of money. A couple of my friends
have serious drug problems, with cocaine or crack or
heroine, or smoke 20 cigarettes a day. So to me, one
cigarette every couple of months is not a big deal.
But it is to them because they're so stuck in their
upper-middle-class bubble that they dont see that
stuff, and they've been taught to judge, scrutinise,
look down on people.
Independent schools are based on tradition and
hierarchy and are all about giving people respect
"because they're older" or because you're
lead to believe they are better than you, so they
appoint prefects and a school captain, and the people
who dont get those positions feel upset and rejected.
Even me, although I didnt really want to be a
prefect, it did make me wonder, why is it ok for them
to say "this person is better than you and so
they're a prefect and you're not"?
And the CCF thing,
I agree, its stupid. The whole thing is stupid. They
teach you how to pass an exam, not how to be a better
person, they reward you if you're good at sports, or
good at academics, not if you survive depression, or
say no to drugs. A girl in my glass said the other
day " a B isnt very good". But the average
GCSE grade in the country is still like, a D or an E
or something like that, a B IS good. An A is very
very good, and an A* is exceptional but because so
many people at our school get all As and A*S, we're
taught that a B isnt good enough, that we should pick
subjects and do things that will look good on our CVs
or our university application, rather than things
we're going to enjoy.
And how can all
that not lead to "undeveloped hearts"? And
I think the same goes for many independent schools.
You pay to have your child pass their exams. I dont
think its true for a LOT of state schools. And
although I dont like a lot of aspects of the school
system in this country, I do think its based on good
intentions, i dont think its evil. And although I
think things need to change, I'm never going to be
able to listen to anyone say that the whole of my
country sucks or that the whole thing is totally
wrong. I have a rather annoying habit of seeing the
good in things, I'm not cynical yet.
God I've rambled on forever! Anyway, I'm sorry that I
get defensive sometimes, but its not because I've
been brainwashed. I havent. I know that a lot of
stuff is wrong, really I do, and I know I'm reluctant
to agree with you but thats only because sometimes
you exaggerate and generalise. Like "england
kills peoples souls" or whatever you said
before. lol. I'll never agree with that, sorry!
ANYWAY I'll shut up now. I've gone on for ages I
guess I had a lot to say without realising it.
I hope you're ok.
Core Components of EQI.org
Respect | Empathy
Caring | Listening
Other EQI.org Topics:
Invalidation | Hugs
Parenting | Personal Growth
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|Isolation - One of the forms of
I have written
before about what is called "In school
suspension", or ISS, in the United States. In
the US this is often a type of solitary confinement
for teenagers, or at the least, separation from their
friends. Recently I was talking to a teen in England
and she told me about what they call
"Isolation" in her school. Here is our part
of that convo. (Edited for easier reading.)
anyhow what have ur teachers
been doing thats been getting to u?
well they told
me that if i don't do better then i won't be
able to get a good job because my grades will
be too low and that i need to work harder
because right now im acting thick! but im
working as hard as i can
they sound real understanding
how did u feel when the teacher
said that stuff?
and what was ur response, if any
that is...verbal or nonverbal?
i just felt
really upset and angry that they could say
all of that stuff
and i told him
to go fuck himself and walked out of the room
did u really?
did you get in trouble for that
yeh im in
isolation for swearing at the teacher
what is isolation exactly?
its where all
the students go that are in real big trouble
and you have to sit in silence away from
everyone and just do a lot of boring work
im being put in
there for 2 weeks and the rest of this one
is it during regular school
hours or after school or what?
and a hour after
you mean for like two hours
nah, all of the
school time and then a hour after
from 9 till 4
(school finishes at 3)
u dont go to ur classes?
how many pple are in there
mostly from my
how do u really feel when ur in
mostly bored and
pissed off because it was the teachers fault
that i sweared at her
From Feb 2, 2006 convo with Liz
This conversation inspired me to write more about these
types of punishments. (See iss2.htm) Here I just want to add that
I feel encouraged that at least Liz realizes that she did
not deserve to be punished for what she said and did, and
that she realizes the teacher was at fault. Instead of
the teacher saying something helpful, he simply lectured,
threatened and insulted Liz.
There are many things
the teacher could have done which would have been more
helpful. For example, he could have said things like:
- I'm a bit
worried about your schoolwork, Liz, and I'd like to
help. How would you feel about us talking sometime?
- Seems like your
having trouble lately. Is there anything going on at
home? Problems with friends? Love life? Anything I
could help with?
- I've noticed you
seem a bit down lately. Want to talk about it?
Anything I can do to help?
doesn't get this kind of emotional support from anyone
either in the school or out. And that is precisely why