Saturday, September 09, 2006

Student dreams

This really happened. I was talking to a student, reminding her that she needed to use her class time wisely, and save herself from having to do the assignment entirely at home, when she informed me that she wasn't that interested in the topic she had chosen. We talked some more about what she might be interested in and she said: "Look all I need to be happy in the future is a house, a husband, two kids and some chips and dip, and I'll be right." For a minute I was speechless. That student is in year 8 and feels that her education (at least at that moment) is just time filling until that moment when all her dreams come true. That was yesterday. Today she came to class with half a page of writing and I still have some hope that she will see that what we discussed about conversations that had more in them than looking after children and house might be worth something in her present, as well as her future. After all, Sydney Harris does say something about education being to "make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's leisure."

1 comment:

  1. I teach English in a Scottish Secondary school, and I don't know if I'm releived or horrified to hear about your year 8 girl.
    On the one hand, I'm relieved to realise that I'm not the only one who had heard similar sentiments, but on the other, I'm horrified that this is obviously/possibly an universal problem.
    I've taught several pupils who have the same media-driven view of their future... either that, or they desire some stereotypical view of the world of work. Let me illustrate: I have had numerous pupils saying they want to be air stewards/hostesses, and my immediate come-back to them is "Why set your sights so low? Why not try to be the pilot?" (I hasten to add, that I am NOT trying to put down air crew... I know that theirs is a hard job and requires a particular set of skills that I do not possess!) The reason I ask the question is that, every now and again, a really bright pupil will make such a pronouncement and, because of a lack of self-belief, does not feel up to being the 'pilot'.
    I think it is our job as educators to at least try to make our pupils aware of the possibilities that are available to them. I know that the majority will not become pilots... just as I know that many of them will not become aircrew... but what I can try and do is make them see that they set their own limits...
    The fact that the girl returned with an attempt at the task does hold out some hope for the future... let's hope she doesn't set her sights too low!

    PS: The current favourite 'future occupation' for a lot of our girls is 'Footballer's Wife'!

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