Losing the will.




With everyday that goes by at the moment I find myself wondering more and more how the hell I ended up in this situation: surrounded by idiots. I fully accept that to others I too am an idiot, but as they have already been classified as idiots by me and this is my blog – I win.

Driving to work today I saw no less than five people texting and driving – well that’s what I assume they were doing as their eyes and hands were aimed towards their crotch and the only other option is not really something i want to think about. The other factor about these people is that they were all women. There is a gender divide as it’s usually men who are actually making calls while driving, which is stupid enough, but it always seems to be girls who have to text while at the wheel. If Darwin’s right we should be a few bodies short soon.

Then there are the conversations I have to listen to on a daily basis. I thought the TOWIE-speak was a joke but people actually, literally, totally, actually, literally speak like that. Rather than say they went out to a restaurant they say things like “I had a Cosmo’s – you jel?” This was the point I had to stop myself shouting obscenities or jumping over desks to hit the offending creature. Language should develop and evolve but there are times I wonder if some of it is actually, literally, actually regressing to the level of idiotic babblings of fake tanned imbeciles on a substandard TV channel.

I know I sound like a snob, a luddite stuck in a time where people spoke properly, used common sense and had an understanding of how a conversation or language actually worked. And to be honest I hold my hands up and admit that’s probably true. I had a discussion with a former pupil the other day about how teenagers are always told they need to better themselves. She said it was unfair – I pointed out that she was told this by adults who maybe wished they had paid more attention at school themselves and that youth was wasted on the young.

It all comes back to role models for me. Look at the people who you looked up to as a child and how that shaped you as a person. We have all gone off the rails at times, pushed boundaries and even laws, experimented with life and all it has to offer but there was core to us that always kept us reasonably sane and “normal”. I’m not sure we have those role models in the same way these days and adults to them are just older versions of themselves.

When I think back to my childhood, adults were old. No-one’s parents were a “milf” or “dilf” and grandparents were Roald Dahl-esque creatures who came from another time – no genuinely another time altogether that no longer exists outside of history classrooms. Now adults are young, you only seem to get old after retirement and even then the grey hair brigade are as fashionable and well kept as the generations below them. The role models of today are so different to our generations that it is understandable that “the youth of today” is not sure who to look up to.

Stupidity is the gift that rolls from one generation to the next – always has, always will – but working with teenagers and young adults there is a bravado about being an idiot, not knowing things, being thick and proud that goes against everything I do this job for. We are always better if we have knowledge and understanding of the world around us – not necessarily academic knowledge, but it doesn’t hurt. Why is there a generation who feel that it no longer matters if they fail? Why do they not care, or even celebrate failure?

One reason is the system in which they are being taught is no longer fit for purpose – either in Scotland under the dreadful Curriculum for Excellence or in the UK under Michael “Pob” Gove’s vision of education. It doesn’t equip the kids for further or higher education and it certainly doesn’t make them ready for the workplace – so what does it do. I find it harder each time I’m asked by students how the work they are doing benefits them not to say “it won’t really”. Yes there are the basic skills we must ensure they have, subject specific knowledge they need for the next academic step and the info they will need for their job, but there is a lot of wasted time and opportunities.

So what is it? What’s to blame? Education? Parents? Society? Government? Joey Essex? All of the above? Maybe that’s the issue – looking for a scapegoat instead of fixing the problems. Maybe we need to be better role models as adults, teachers, parents and grandparents and stop asking the kids why they are doing so badly.

Larkin was right you know.



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