Our Society is Failing

I’m aware that’s a pretty bold statement to make, especially considering that the UK provides the likes of the NHS and Education to us for free. However, in a continually changing world, it seems increasingly more difficult to help everyone who is in need. This failure does not lie solely with just the Government but with every single citizen residing in society, including me.

How easy is it to walk down the street past numerous homeless people and not give them anything or walk past another charity collection bucket? For me, I feel overwhelming guilt walking past those who appear to have nothing, especially when I’ve sat and complained about something they could only dream of having. Sometimes, I even question if their circumstances are really as bad as they make them out to be, partly because I know no different from the media and the people around me.

To me, the media portrays those in need as ‘benefit scroungers’, ‘addicts’ or even simply ‘lazy’ and ‘taking the easy route’, and without a doubt that plays on our unconscious bias to alter the way we see those in need.

Whilst reading ‘The Roles We Play’ by ATD 4th World, one particular comment really stood out to me from a disabled mother of three called Moraene:

“I am of value to my community and to society but I’m invisible to those who do not know me and stigmatised bu the headlines they read.”

It’s so easy to discount disabled, unemployed and homeless people of not fully being able to contribute in a meaningful way, however throughout the ATD report, it became clear that those are the people who are the most generous. They give up countless hours of their time to help those in greater need than themselves, and will persevere no matter the circumstance, to ensure that they and their families can have an ‘adequate’ lifestyle. 

They are striving for adequate. Enough to have a roof over their head and a little to eat. Nothing extravagant or unnecessary, and to me that is definitely something I need to adapt to and strive towards.

As a society, I know there is so much more we can do. Whether it be a kind smile to a stranger on the street, buying someone lunch or volunteering to spend time doing something for other people, we should give it our very best shot because we never know when it could hit us or our closest friends and family.

“There’s no such things as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” –  Scott Adams

Equity and Equality

We live in a technologically advanced society where often your possessions provide the first judgement for people. “Oh you have the Iphone X? You must be rich!” “Oh you still have that nokia? Wow that’s old fashioned!”

In our group project today we were given a task to make something, however, we could see that we clearly had less than the other groups and some people started to grumble and complain that we were at a disadvantage because of our lack of resources. The other groups were unaware of this and happily carried on with their abundance of materials whilst we tried to make the best out of what we had.

Although this was a task for our course, we soon learnt it reflected much deeper into society. For me, I took that not every classroom we would enter would have Ipads or interactive whiteboards etc but regardless of that fact, we would have to make the best possible lesson with what we had. In our classroom, we also need to ensure equity. We should give our children as much support as possible depending on their needs. We also need to ensure that we treat everyone equally the same with a complete disregard from any bias we have. Each child deserves constant encouragement and support. Some may need it more than others but we cannot have favourites in the classroom.

Why I chose to become a primary teacher

The first comment I always get when I tell someone I want to teach primary school is “Wow, good luck with that! That is my worst nightmare.” or “That’s a great choice, you’ll have so much free time! Think of all those summer holidays.” But for me, it came down to the possible impact could have.

My desire to become a primary school teacher really started in primary four where I had the best teacher ever. She was so kind, encouraging and helped me to reach my very best every single day. That was the moment I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to be just like her and be able to make a difference to hundreds of children?”

Truthfully, I was also motivated by my primary school in general. I always felt like there was more I could achieve and a lot more that I could push myself to understand but it never happened. I was a child that loved homework (especially anything to do with maths) but I always had it done in 10 minutes because it just wasn’t a challenge for me. However, when I moved into my grammar school I really felt the consequences of this. My first term was one of the hardest because I just felt so unprepared compared to everyone else.

Fast forward 7 years and I’ve now made it onto my dream course at Dundee. For me, I hope that I can become a teacher who will inspire and challenge her pupils to be the very best they can be. I want to make sure that I play an important part in preparing them for the many challenges they will face the rest of their lives. I can remember the impacts of my teachers and I hope that I can impact even one child to realise their potential. Everyone has different talents and abilities and I hope to help each child realise their ability.

“Let us pick up our books and our pens,” I said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: ‘The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban’