The recent Health and Wellbeing lectures and TDT’s have been amongst the most personally and professionally challenging inputs that I’ve been faced with since embarking on this journey that society said I’d never get a chance at. As the topic of relationships was discussed during the first lecture, I began to reflect on my own childhood and the difference that the relationships with various teachers had on my life. Without the influence that they had, I assume that my life would have taken a very different path. Their presence always gave me a sense of security, freedom and hope. The high expectations that they had for me made me strive to find a better life for myself, to break free from the ‘warzone’ that I called home. However, I cannot help but wonder if I would have been encouraged in the same way had they known what I faced when I left the school building to return to my reality.
Following this lecture, we had two videos to watch as part of a TDT. These videos help to explain why I see the world the way I do. One of the videos was by John Carnochan, who established the Violence Reduction Unit within Strathclyde police. Carnochan discussed many issues in this video which once again caused me to reflect. One of the most prominent things that Carnochan said during this video was:
“raise a child in a warzone and you’ll raise a warrior.“
Despite the chaotic state of my home life, I was never a child who was disengaged on a regular basis; I didn’t have outbursts of anger or upset in school. Instead, school was the place I could be myself, the place where everything made sense and most importantly the place where I could let my guard drop a little. From as young as nine or ten I was able to live what may been seen as a double life. What appeared to be a normal way to live at home and what seemed to be normal at school were never the same. School was tranquil, even on the days where others may say it was mayhem.
For a long time, I’ve been able to see that every child reacts to stress in very different ways. Some children deal with this by lashing out in anger or upset; others will be disengaged with everyone and everything; for yet more children, like me, the only way to cope is not to speak, or shout or scream but instead to throw themselves head first into learning. This allow an escape to be found.
Today, we had the chance to discuss this video at the beginning of the lecture. I found this to be difficult as I never really know what to say when it comes to actually speaking about how I grew up and what my relationships were like. What did strike me today was the expectations that people place on children who have never had the opportunity to completely escape from stress, aggression and violence at home. As much as I believe that the comment today was not meant in the way that I perceived it, I was a little shocked. I feel that there is a valuable lesson to be learnt from today, which I presume will have gone unnoticed by many people in the lecture theatre. The limitations that I have fought (and still fight) against were once again placed upon me. The limits of living and growing around a vast variety of social issues, including drugs and violence, are different for every person. Everyone has developed different levels of resilience and a variety of coping strategies and therefore a generalised limitation cannot be placed over the group of people.
As I continue on this road to joining the teaching profession, It is coming more and more clear how easy it is to place limits on people which have the possibility to stick with them throughout their lives.