Threats of Failure.

After witnessing something close to shell shock, when my students had to do an assessment…I decided to drill down and find out why…

We had a little ‘family chat’ in between analysing some Steinbeck and their feelings and views bit me to the core.

They believe that if they fail their GCSEs- their life will be over.

It’s as if they have one shot at success and that’s it. Do or die.

One teacher told them that they’d end up homeless if they didn’t get their gcses. Other teachers constantly threaten them with failing their exam in over 2 years if they don’t memorize yet another key bit of information.

They said their assemblies focus on GCSEs the whole time and they’re already fatigued by this incessant threat of possible failure years before the real thing.

As they’re in a lower set, they already feel inferior to their peers and many just expect themselves to not understand or write very little. (Here in lies the issues around setting.)

I know this is how most children feel in Secondary school and the clear pressure they feel from school to get it right NOW is turning more and more children off. This immediately negates a nurturing environment into a monolithic, minimalist definition of success.

I told them straight that you can restart your life at any given moment. There’s no finishing line! That GCSEs or anything else do not define their worth.

After doing some intensive timed work to acclimatise to exam situations, I then sang a couple of verses of an Adele song and they left happier and more confident than before.

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Exams Kill.

I have some beautiful students.

Beautiful souls. Eager, delicate, in need of gentle guidance.

We debate, we reveal parts of our personalities, we experience time together…growing older together. Appreciating genius words, colliding with notions, crashing into history and showering us with emotion.

Don’t think for a second that my classroom is idyllic- it’s far from it. I get seriously wound up and so do they. I admit I’m a smothering Matriarch.

But it’s safe. I really work hard to make it emotionally safe.

Until we had to do out first assessment today configured loosely around GCSE exams.

Some of them literally crumbled before my eyes. They wilted. The stress was palpable and they’re 2 years off the real thing!

As teachers we act as a conduit for the extreme expectations of the management. The kids feel our intense burden of how do their books look, are they making adequate progress, are they engaging enough…how that makes Us look.

The current education system makes us care about our career and professional prowess over forming young minds.

It’s agonising to watch. Supremely painful to watch their bravado, their insight, their brilliant inference meld into a quivering wreck.

My bouncy, intuitive student couldn’t find a word to put to paper: despite my empathetic nudges, she had to leave the room, cry and tell me how much she cant cope with getting it wrong. I told her to chill and read a book.

Another boy, spent the whole lesson in sick bay after some sorry attempts of mine to prompt him.

So many students couldn’t remember their quotes and were flummoxed. Any hurdle tripped them up.

Others needed constant reminding sentence by sentence after weeks of prep.

We talk about building robust future citizens. I think this new exam heavy curriculum is creating a massive chasm of the haves and have nots.

The few who can do tests and the many who find the order too tall.

Yes I learnt some important pointers today about their low self esteem and the need to practise the complex requirements of exams in tiny swallowable chunks.

But this kind of pressure definitely takes the joy out of Learning.

Jeremy Corbyn is anti semitic so don’t vote Labour. RIGHT.

Boris Johnson called Muslim women letter boxes. So don’t vote Conservative.

This is the logic the anti Corbynite-Semetic movement are applying.

Jews don’t feel safe and it makes headline news to the point of impacting on an election mmmmmmmm

How safe do Muslim women feel? Their well being in the UK doesn’t make the front of the BBC news over and over and over.

In fact how safe do I feel as a Black woman? Completely vulnerable actually, not that anyone cares.

The difference between me, the Mulsim women Boris Johnson massacred and the Jews is We don’t have an equivalent of the Jewish Chronicle to voice the racism we endure at the hands of Jews and others in the establishment.

Another ‘spot the difference’ between me, my Muslim sister versus my Jewish compatriots, is we don’t have the economic power to get heard quick, destroy careers of genuine do gooders like Ken Livingstone (who gave me a Cambridge education for free) and JC (who unlike all politicians who we see sprawled over our screens campaigned for evil empires like Apartheid), or fill the obsequious boots of the establishment with trembling fear at the notion of us leaving the UK if the political party we abhor wins.

Money talks.

In fact, I think a lot of people in this country would say ‘good riddence’ if the racial likes of me and my Muskim sister departed from these British shores.

We suffer in silence. We are invisible. While anti semitism makes the headlines.

I won’t explain this one away as ‘Jews own the media’. Something we are all now banned from saying incase you lose your job, become ostracized by bullying and peer pressure that is being aggressively used in this election.

Political correctness controlled by the few, not the many.

What I will share is a story a lovely Jewish woman secretely told me when our teachers union were being squashed for being anti semetic, by Jewish teachers for supporting Palestenian schools; when the black teachers didn’t even turn up for these motions cause their cause and unfair treatment is irrelevant and unimportant, of course!!!!!

She said that she hated the way Jewish people go on and on and on about their suffering. It embarasses her and she violently opposes the way they go on and on in the media and the union.

She insisted I keep this quiet when with the Jewish teachers for fear of negative repercussions in her political life.

If a Jew said this, what hope have we got for a fair election?

New Report: Who Owns the UK Media in 2019?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2016/06/01/these-15-billionaires-own-americas-news-media-companies/