Education for Life
It just wasn’t fair! he thought.
It was the middle of Maths class and the sound of the teacher was like the hum of an aeroplane in the background of his angry mind.
He was tired of the neighbours praising his mother. “Isn’t Biddy a great woman to have brought all of you up on her own? You owe her a lot, you know?” All his life Jake had stood silently by with that nervous grin on his face as he listened to their praise of Biddy. Why could none of them see how great HE was? He, his sisters and brother had survived orphanage, violence, and abuse none of which his mother would ever recognise or take responsibility for. But she readily accepted the neighbours’ praise and ignored the fact that she had betrayed her children so that she would have material security.
She knew what her family had done to her children but unless she kept quiet they wouldn’t leave her the house in the will. Her children were the price she paid for her own misguided survival and she now has her house.
Jake’s feelings were like a tornado within him. He had nobody to talk to and didn’t even realize there was anything wrong. Hate was his constant companion and there was ample opportunity to vent his anger under the guise of the pain he inflicted upon himself by running a mile in five minutes or the pain he could inflict on others in a hurling or football match. The pain he felt was real and he scratched his head vigorously as if to tear away from his skin the heartache that stubbornly adhered to him.
“Jake don’t you realize that your exams are only around the corner? After all your mother has done for you, is this the way you repay her? Stop day dreaming and tell me what is the centre of a circle with equation x² + y² = 16 ?”
Jake stood up slowly, calmly collected his books and brushing past the bemused Mr. Murphy he stormed out of that oppressive class room.
It was an impulsive decision but the feeling of freedom it gave him as he literally flew the cage was worth it. The exhilaration he felt for those brief moments as he seized control of his destiny was better than the buzz he got from drinking a flagon of Bulmer’s Cider on a Saturday night.
Finding one's centre
His mother would have to find someone else to manipulate emotionally. He was no longer going to allow her to live out her dreams through him. He knew that she would focus on the other three when she realised that she really had lost him this time but he was through carrying their pain as well. He was going to live his own life and refused to be a victim any longer. Perhaps his mother and Mr.Murphy had planned it all with God and he had learned the lesson life had to teach and he was now developing character. Dunlaoire looked good that afternoon as he watched the ferry dock. “The centre of that circle Mr.Murphy is the point (0,0). But more importantly I have embarked in pursuit of my own centre and this you never once asked me!”
Unless we as teachers really acknowledge and pay attention to the various worlds each child inhabits our efforts to reach them will be in vain. We cannot afford to wait on our own planets for the children to come to us for the facts and figures we claim are all important. We are the explorers and only in bravely venturing forth and reaching out the hand of peace to each child before us can we truly be involved in the education process. Exam results are not the gauges of character and we betray our children when we use such a pathetic excuse to distract us from our real task – CHARACTER! With this noble goal foremost in our minds how can our jobs not fulfill us and raise our consciousness to the highest heights?
I falter and often fail the children in my care but with this direction in mind I continue to pick myself up, dust myself off and proceed as best I can. Luke Skywalker eat your heart out!