Thursday, 9 October 2014


This week has gone really quickly. I was in Brighton yesterday  at short notice for a meeting and to pick up some new (and very welcome) work.

It rained in the morning and I got soaked, as soon as the train left Hastings station - the sun came out. Its been pretty windy all week - so wardrobe choices have been difficult. I'm a bit behind on a few things at the moment and really need to catch up now - but I have plenty to keep me occupied over the next few weeks. Was able to catch up on a few things in Brighton - and someone I've not seen for a while greeted me with 'Oh, you look well, your hair looks good' - which was a bit confusing, as I don't really have any.

One curious thing. On the way home a young guy sat opposite me - I recognised him as someone who had been a student on another course when I was teaching. He is deaf, and wore a fairly large and complex looking hearing aid. Because of this - he was assigned a teaching assistant. Essentially - someone full time who is with him all day to make sure that he isn't in any way held back by his disability. There were quite a few of them at the college - generally middle aged women, and although I'm sure that many of them make a valuable contribution to the teaching experience - the one who worked with this lad was a nightmare - she was the type who took over the class, made huge demands of the staff, demanded tailored teaching plans and ensured that the work continued at her pace, rather than his, or anyone else's. I used to dread the thought that I'd end up teaching him - as there seemed to be a lot of kids in his position that ended up trapped in the eduction system for years, unable to escape - inside the 'vertical learning' model of education that is really all about extracting as much value from every student as possible - until there is no more income to be derived from them - and they wander of into the real world with a bunch of random, useless and mediocre qualifications and a debt for life.

Anyway - to get to the point. This lad wasn't alone on the train - he was with abut about 5 years older - I'm quite sure they were a couple - I had suspected that he was gay at college and both were wearing matching rings on their wedding fingers. They both wore office clothes, but good quality and well chosen, and were both well groomed and looked happy and healthy. More to the point, they spent the entire journey back in animated and obviously intelligent conversation - in sign language and lip reading ( because they were both wearing hearing aids, which I didn't mention before ). Neither of them had the slightest problem communication or were in any way phased by being the only two (obviously) deaf people on the train - both looked happy, healthy and totally normal. The point of this story - well, when he was at college he was a withdrawn, isolated and depressed boy who I never once saw attempt to communicate with anyone else - his interaction with the world seemed to be limited to what his assistant had decided was good for him and she set herself up as a buffer against the real world, several other staff members felt bullied by her evangelical zeal and determination to do things 'her way' - and I'm sure she had all the right motivations, but really - this kid was fine - it was her holding him back. I use to see him sitting over an blank page staring blankly - I used to really worry about him, I needn't have - he clearly turned out just fine.

Still feeling pretty run down, have come back from work because a new letterbox is being delivered to the house at some time between 1pm and 2pm, I've had 2 emails and two text messages already to prepare me for the coming of the chrome letterbox. I've had to pay for something decent because - living by the sea, everything corrodes really quickly - it's my 3rd in 7 years.

Brought a load of work home with me - I may work at home tomorrow - a day without hauling myself into the office can't be such a bad thing.

1 comment:

N Feather said...

Such a good, perceptive post - thank you.

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