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On poverty, education and opportunities

Discussion in 'Personal' started by BelleDuJour, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I work a few hours a week at a small unit for secondary age pupils out of mainstream education.
    The sort we have there are definitely not PRU material, but are disengaged, have been bullied or have MH issues. Most of them come from homes in poverty, which is hardly surprising.
    However, they all have choices to make. These students are delivered to and from by taxi, have lunch provided, are taken on trips and visits, and have a team of 1 to 1 experienced teachers to help them gain enough qualifications to make a difference, and help them to get a decent job, and climb out of the poverty trap. Theydo English, Maths and ICT then can choose art, science, geography, food, film studies...........many different options all tailored to the individual.
    Now, most of the students recognise the opportunity given to them, and do their very best.
    But one or two..............................hmmm.
    You see, you can lead a horse to water but.
    One or two throw every opportunity back in the faces of those of us (with endless patience) who want to help them. They either fail to turn up, or turn up and refuse to do anything. However hard we try, and whatever incentives are offered, these few students refuse to engage with any member of staff.
    So poverty will be their future, because they have chosen NOT to work their way out of it.
    With all the political claptrap we've been subjected to recently, I know getting some people out of poverty will never happen, because whatever is offered to them, they make the wrong choices.
    Such a pity................
    No amount of money will solve this.
    But we carry on trying.
    bevdex, Sally006, phlogiston and 7 others like this.
  2. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I saw a comment on here recently to the effect that UK education is not all that great. There can't be many places in the world that would go to this much trouble and expense for a small cohort for plenty of whom Ive no doubt it was doomed to failure. But still we do.

    Yes, they fail by their own hand but I'm always interested in what circumstances led them to make such self-defeating decisions.
  3. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Me too. But sadly they don't see their behaviour as self-defeating. The problem is why they don't see this.
    It is very sad.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Perhaps they aspire to riches running county lines?

    I vividly remember one lad who was always insistent that life on benefits was a bed of roses. That was his family's career-choice. He wasn't going to budge on that.

    That was about 2005. I'm not sure the family will be quite as content with their lot in 2019.
    bevdex, FormosaRed and Laphroig like this.
  5. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    There is a lot of that about sadly, but I don't think these kids are involved as they simply don't have two pennies to their names, nor do their parent(s).
  6. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Do they have mental health issues / learning difficulties associated with low self-esteem and fear of repeated failure? If so, have the appropriate outside agencies conducted full assessments and provided staff with advice?
    frangipani123 likes this.
  7. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I dont think self-analysis is a strength. I lost count of the number of times I asked boys to try and remember what they were hoping to achieve the moment before they kicked off, what was in it for them. Look good for their mates? Score one over the teacher? Relieve boredom? Even knowing how it turned out all the other times? Most of the time they couldn't say. Dunno. Can't remember.
    phlogiston and grumpydogwoman like this.
  8. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Oh for goodness sake yes. Of course agencies are involved. We don't just pluck these kids from nowhere. That's a really daft post.
    My point is you can try/do anything but some (not all) of these kids do not want any help and do not see any form of education having any use.
    Most of our students do want to learn and make something of themselves but we have to admit there are a few we (or anyone) can do nothing for.
    FormosaRed likes this.
  9. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

  10. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    For them to be in a small unit, such as Belle describes, I would imagine extensive intervention from all sorts of outside agencies must have been involved, prior to their placement.

    I remember students at my last school telling me that they saw no point in the acquisition of any formal qualification because they anticipated that they would follow the same path as their parents and grandparents. All of whom expected to continue their supposedly working lives on benefits. As GDW says, this was round about 2004/5. Whether they feel the same now, I too, have no idea.

    I was unable to persuade them to raise their aspiration, other than ensuring they received their entitlement to benefits and housing.
    BelleDuJour and grumpydogwoman like this.
  11. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    For some it may be a time in their lives. You don't know what outside influences there are on these kids, or probably more likely, the lack of influence leading them to believe their own untested ideas that have not failed as yet, because people still care about them. They don't realise how artificial their world is as at the moment as it's all they've known, usually some combination of very concerned teachers/social workers and totally unconcerned "carers".

    For some kids school is a game where you have to get them to do things and they have to avoid doing it. Being told it's for their sake is just a part of your game to get them to do it. Maybe some will remain bouncing along the bottom, but I'm sure some will rise above it in time.

    I used to have a short speech that I would recite to recalcitrant yr.11's some time around Easter that went something like "Make the most of this time where other people care about what you do for your sake because it will never happen again after you leave school. No-one will care if you sink or swim and many will just se you as someone to get something from, we're trying to prepare you for that.".

    One of my favourite sayings is "The path is known to each man by his finding it".
    bevdex, sabrinakat, jubilee and 3 others like this.
  12. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Each case will have an individual story behind it and as Belle said in the OP, some have been bullied or have mental health issues. Over the course of my life, I've encountered a lot of people who were unable to reach their full potential and the one common thing they all seemed to have was a lack of confidence in themselves.

    Confidence is relatively easy to acquire when you start to get one or two successes. Getting a success of any sort when you've been set up to fail is incredibly hard work.

    I'm sure that things have deteriorated since I was at school. There seemed to be more opportunities back then for kids that lacked academic skills to be able to prove their worth doing practical stuff and find successes to build on and grow in confidence that way, but these days, the practical stuff is undervalued.

    The other thing that happens when you derprive kids of the opportunity to be successful in anything, is they grow up and have kids of their own who will never be encouraged to have confidence in themselves.

    Finally, the sausage machine, factory-designed education system we now have isn't helpful. lots of testing of a product all the way through a factory is great for producing reliable products, but with products that fail the tests, there are two choices. They can either be re-worked or discarded. Kids that fail the arbitrary tests, don't really get the same chance.

    A product that failed a test doesn't have an emotion to be knocked when it gets taken off the production line. Kids do. A product isn't going to be bullied by other products. The fundamental flaw in the education system is the assumption that if you teach X at some point in the education cycle and Y at another, it all comes together at the end of the production cycle, as it does when you're manufacturing a product, except it doesn't with humans. It can years after school is a distant memory before an individual gets the point of what their teacher thought they needed to know about.
    bevdex, HelenREMfan and BelleDuJour like this.
  13. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    When I was a kid I heard the most successful person on the planet lived alone locked in a darkened room and used milk bottles for a toilet.

    Then I got a job on the milk round. It was all downhill from there on.
  14. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Breaking Bad! At least Jesse... oh no. Sorry, not everyone's seen El Camino.
    But my stony heart still rejoices at the students "we" at Hell High "saved". No hopers with junkie parents or looked after by Nan because both parents were in prison. I still delight in running into the ones who grew up just in time. Lots if the others are dead.
  15. WB

    WB Lead commenter

    I really do feel for these young but if they are throwing back all that is given to them, would it be better to take the place off them and give it a child who make more of it?
    BelleDuJour likes this.
  16. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I'm sorry you think so. There was no implied criticism. As a retired special educational needs teacher, I was just trying to be helpful. Very often in SEND, there are still options to be considered. When I qualified as a teacher in the early 1970s, both the UK and the USA categorised certain young people as "ineducable". From your experience, are you saying that this category should be reinstated?
  17. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    I refused school and thankfully there were no pupil referral units. My education came from the telly: Farmhouse Kitchen, Tales Of The Unexpected and Crown Court. I was sent to Red Bank Assessment Centre where they psychologically probed me and discovered I was really quite bright. They then sent me to St Thomas More's Community Home where they sent me out to work in a plastics factory while I was still school age.

    Twenty years later I found myself working in a pupil referral unit. Like school, Red Bank and St Thomas More's the staff were quite indifferent.

    Then I worked teaching children who had harmed other children. These kids were in isolated farmhouses out on the Fens surrounded by 5/1 ratio support staff. The staff didn't get along so some staff would steal a child at breaktime while I was busy preparing work and take them off to town to "buy some shoes".

    When I told the staff to shove the job where the sun doesn't shine they didn't understand. So I left the manager with one parting shot. I asked "do you have children?" She replied in the affirmative so I asked "where are they right now?"
    It seems they were in school! Very strange.

    Anyway, I've done my bit. I don't have any kids and never will have.
    xmal and richardmthompson1 like this.
  18. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I agree. We really have no idea what the impact of our words/actions might be but truth be known we can have an impact... Positive or negative though often eventually when the time is right for them not to our schedule because inspiration comes in many forms and lessons take time, as does control over their own situation. Credit to all the tryers and everyone with patience to continue with those supportive words/deeds and who inspire just by being, even when it appears that they aren't paying attention.
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It has been ever thus.

    Poor impulse control. Not able to practise deferred gratification.

    As always it's a combination of genes and environment. You can't fight the genetic programming so the only influence we have is over the environment and how many hours a day do we have them?

    You can only do your best.
  20. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    We do give them lots of chances, but if they continue to be non-attendees or attend, but refuse to do anything, then we take them off roll. Which is sad, as it is a failure...............not of us, or the external agengies, but of the student who simply makes the wrong choices time and time again.
    We can only take very few students, and it is very expensive to educate each one, so it is imperative the ones we take want to make the right choices.
    needabreak and WB like this.

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