Wednesday, 22 October 2014

It's all about me really! #knowledge #me #selfabsorbed

Today in class, The year 9's were doing a unit on the environment. They were specifically talking about damage to the environment and native species from introduced plants and animals. When the teacher asked them to name an introduced species, the first answer was a Koala. (Remember, I live in Australia.) The teacher's eyes widened and he said, 'Maybe we better begin with the native species first.' So then he asked for the names of some native animals. The answers poured in, dogs, cows, horses, camels! By this stage the teacher was apoplectic. He said, 'A good place to start would be with some Marsupials!' The answer to that was, 'What is a marsupial?' His eyes glazed over! Purple in the face, the teacher then asked where the girls had been for the first 14 years of their life.
How do students that live in Australia, go to school in Australia, get to fourteen years of age, and not even know that the native species of Australia include the kangaroo, wallabies, koalas, They are on our coins, our coat of arms and everyone knows these animals are native to Australia. Well we thought everyone knew! What is it that these kids are so interested in that has impeded their thirst for knowledge. What is of so much importance, that is so world changing, that is the only thing that they are vaguely interested in? That elusive thing is - themselves! It is very sad that very few of these kids actually value their education. It is sad that they do not see the empowerment that knowledge brings. I fear we have lost the plot. We are raising a generation of spoilt brats. They are too tired to do the menial tasks required of them because heaven forbid, 'I had to do some work in class.'

Why is it that these kids have such an elevated opinion about their self importance.  Is it because the average family is now two or less children. Is it because the the sun rises, shines and sets in these precious children. They have never known what it is like to be one of the motley crew that is a large family, where money is tight, and you all simply look out for, and after, each other. In a big family,there simply isn't time to worried about yourself! Is it the social media and the breakdown in interpersonal skills that has led to this self-absorbancy? They know every pout and pose for that selfie. They happily snapchat their genitals and yet have no idea that education is power. Power to change their lives for the better. Power to keep them from poverty. Is it the affluence of society that has bred this generation who believes it is the cleaning lady's job too pick up after them. Is it because their parents are too busy working, too tired, too jaded, or all of the above??
They are only fourteen!' I hear you say! Yes they are, and the hormones have well and truly kicked in. But, this is no excuse for their general apathy to knowledge, and their poor attitude to learning. In third world countries, the kids are crying out, trying anything that will give them some relief from poverty. Our girls have had it pretty easy really, but basically view their time at school as a time to hang out with friends. The fact that they have lessons is just an inconvenience that must be endured until the next break. I know that lessons have always been a bit of a drag at times but what has happened to their curiosity? At no time have we had greater access to the tools for knowledge. Heaven forbid, it is at our fingertips! It is as easy as a swipe, a touch, or a keyboard - the world is your oyster.

Life is not meant to be easy. But, it can be a hell of a lot easier if you have the skills to make your way in life. It is easier if you know the meaning of self-reliance, cooperation and generosity of spirit. None of this comes from self importance. The 'look at me' syndrome, that grips our young children and adults is self fulfilling and self destructing. How do you widen your knowledge base to build your resilience when you have no idea about anything other than yourself? 

The world is a rapidly changing place. There are many challenges ahead - economic hardship, instability in the Middle East, Ebola and it's consequences. These little darlings are going to meet hardship in their lifetime and will simply, have no idea about the train wreck that is about to hit them. Maybe this will be the Saviour of this indulged, self indulgent youth. They will simply have no choice. Maybe then we will get back the curiosity in our young. Maybe they will realize that the sun does not rise and set with them? I hope so because unless something changes these kids are in for a pretty miserable time. In the mean time, how lovely would it be that the girl's of today's lesson, actually celebrate our wildlife and come back to school knowing that we do not have alligators in Australia, a Koala is not an introduced species, and a camel is certainly not a native one.

Until next time, keep being curious!

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