Suck: The System

Son 2 phoned today. The conversation went something like this:

“I’m just informing you that I resigned from university this morning.”

“Ah. I see. How did you do it?”

“It’s easy; you just go online, click ‘I don’t want to be at uni any more’, and they go, ‘OK’.”

“Ah. Right…  Why did you decide to do that?”

“I’ve had enough of the education system. It’s sucking out my soul.”

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A proper parent would probably have tried to do some reasoning with him. Or wheedling. Or bribery of some kind. A proper parent would have at the very least suggested sleeping on it, or going to discuss it with a friendly lecturer; but I just said a singularly ineffectual,

“Oh. OK.”

The problem is, you see… the thing that stopped me from doing all the things a proper parent should have done is that I AGREE WITH HIM. The education system probably IS sucking out his soul. I’m a teacher and the education system is sucking out my soul as well. It’s also sucking out the soul of almost every other teacher I know.

I didn’t tell him that a couple of weeks ago I had my first ever anxiety attack and am signed off sick from the job that once made me spark like a high voltage cable. I didn’t mention to him that everything I ever wanted to do for young people is being slowly and surely booted into oblivion by the grades obsessed, bureaucratic slurry of suits who run our college. I didn’t mention that my college – a place that’s entire purpose should be to inspire the next generation to greatness – is now nothing more than a grades-at-all-costs human-crunching machine.

A few years ago I was a Grade 1 Outstanding teacher; I spent all my time reading and thinking and collaborating with friends and colleagues on ideas for excellent lessons. I loved the students and I still do. But the system has reached a point where I don’t have the strength to work in it any more; the whole thing creates massive cognitive dissonance in my brain. I no longer believe in it, and need to find a way out.

So who am I to tell my son that he can’t walk out of a system that is so screwed? Like him, as soon as I can find a way, I will go online and click ‘I don’t want to be a teacher any more’, and they will say, ‘OK’ and that will be that. There is no shortage of newly qualified and enthusiastic teachers ready and willing to take my place in the queue for grinding disillusionment.


4 replies to “Suck: The System

  1. Argh!!!!!! The frustration. I left the college over 10 years ago with very similar feelings. This has just bought up all those horrible feelings and a few tears I had from all that time ago. The students were great, hard work, challenging, but great. They were students with social problems who we thought we were helping by offering them training schemes but the system they had to get through at the college was soul destroying. I was desperate to leave, feeling dreadful about failing my students but I did it and had to do it for a massive pay cut. Life goes on and I am now doing what I really want to do and I still bump into past students who still want to say Hi and not avoid me, so I must have done something right! Look after yourself. I ended up with stomach problems all stress related that took 18months after leaving to recede into something I could cope with. Take care.

    1. That’s very interesting Vanessa. I’m so glad you’re doing something real now!

      You end up being embarrassed by the things you have to get them to do because you know if it was you, you’d think it was a total waste of time. And with students who are disillusioned by the system anyway, it’s a sure fire way of making them even more disillusioned.

      I am desperate to do something more productive & creative. I need to follow in your footsteps!

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