COFFEE TALK #2 - "ACT LIKE A GROWN UP - BUT DON'T YOU DARE EXPECT TO BE TREATED LIKE ONE."

16:16 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments


As a frequent book-loser and homework-forgetter in the early days of my secondary school career, I'm no stranger to the dreaded Breaktime Detention. When I was thirteen years old, it was understandable - show up without your History essay, spend twenty minutes writing out that you won't do it again fifty times over, give it three days and repeat. Thing is, I'm not thirteen years old any more and neither are my peers. So why the hell are we being treated like we are?

It's something that the vast majority of my year group has been at least vaguely disgruntled about since the beginning of the academic year, when we were informed that we - even as Year Thirteen, the oldest pupils in the school - were not allowed to be left 'unsupervised' at any time. Which means that during our study lessons, anyone who stays in the common room is to be babysat by that day's chosen teacher, who is usually from lower school and doesn't appear to know the difference between an eleven year old child, fresh out of primary school, and an eighteen year old adult who is very shortly going to be a university student. Constant shushes and pointed reminders that this is supposed to be quiet working time when I'm simply asking a classmate on the next table a relevant question have become the very bane of my existence in recent months, and I'm sick to the back teeth of it.

This struck me most a little over a week ago, when I went up to the school library to use a computer for some coursework. The library is shared with the whole school, from Year Seven to Year Thirteen and so is fairly sizeable and often reasonably busy. However, on this particular day the only people in the room were the librarian and myself. I was typing away, happily undisturbed, when the librarian approached to inform me she had to leave to get something from another part of the school and was leaving me for a few minutes. She followed this with a sentence that I've heard disturbingly few times since September "You're an adult, so I know I can trust you." Thank you, Mrs Taylor. You're quite right. Now would you mind coming over to sixth form rooms and telling them that?!

If the constant babysitting wasn't enough, then the fact that we're equated in attitude and maturity to our lowerclassmen is what really tips me over the edge. At the beginning of the year I had no issue with doing one half of my English Literature coursework - based around Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting - on the sixth form server. However, as of lately every time I try to look up source material I get the same hazard-symbol reminder that the page is blocked. When I questioned this I got rather a simple answer: it has swear words in it. 

I shit you not.

The senior management of the school - the people who are telling us over and over and over again that we're adults now and need to act like it - are essentially telling us that we're not mature enough to access educational material because it has a few naughty words. Bullshit, if ever I heard it.

The long and short of it is that everyone in the sixth form is between the ages of sixteen and nineteen. We're not children any more. We're adults, and we're frequently reminded to act like them. Yet my understanding of adult life was that you take responsibility for yourself. If you are given the choice between doing something actually productive in the way of work or dicking around with your mates, it's up to you to make the responsible choice. In my honest opinion if, at the age of sixteen, you would rather muck about instead of revising, it's your own damn stupid fault if you fail all of your exams. Some people argue with me on this point, saying that people dicking around distracts others. My retort to this would be that, as an adult, if you're being distracted it is your responsibility to remove yourself from that situation and into one where you can concentrate. Sixth form is supposed to be a place that prepares you for university and mine, sadly, does not.

Do you guys have an opinion? Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

Happy reading,
Jazz xo

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