I have been thinking about this post for a long time, it happens to be that it falls on international women’s day that I find time to sit down and write it…and it seems apt.
It is not solely about stereotyping women but having watch the TED video below with my form this morning it has spurned me on to sit down and get my thoughts on paper.
For too long we have allowed a culture of putting things into boxes, categorizing and ranking items to pollute our society and culture.
The main reason for this post actually spanned from two things, a previous post where I discussed the OFSTED ranking of schools (https://mrseducate.com/2018/08/31/moving-to-the-beat-could-you-have-to-start-paying-18000-for-state-schooling/) and the recent issue with mental health.
We do not need to explore too much the statistics around any age group related to mental health and how it is a gigantic unsolved issue, it’s so obvious now that I put the picture below just to get a point across that we should all be aware of. What is an issue is the reasons behind it. I can’t help but feel that too often we go off looking for a complected problem, needed multifaceted answer as justification of our superior knowledge when sometimes we just need to simplify a problem down.
The Problem from my eyes
Having studied psychology as part of my degree I understand the part of human nature that likes to group themselves in order to obtain a sense of belonging. It can be a useful part of life but it has also hinder the human population from moving beyond destructive tendencies within these groups.
Obviously girls can be an example. Often girls are down played in society without thinking on why, or where this came from. It is ingrained and will take big leaps within our education to combat, as shown in the advert below.
But what I feel really keeps issues like this, and other problems going, is our obsession with ranking items. We like to list items and put something on top. What that generally means is that something has to come at the bottom.
Look at the rating system. How can we be saying that any school can improve once labelled as failing. Who is going to want to send their child, their flesh and blood to a school that is associated with special measures if they have the choice? If someone has the money and means to avoid this it is likely that they will, even if the statement was 3 years ago and the school is now very near another inspection where they are to be rated good. It just can not work. This is a socioeconomic problem and would be aided if we stopped ranking schools after so long and made regular visits run by professionals who could aid the schools. Then give out a report WITHOUT a grade that gives an overview of the schools for parents to read that shows things they are doing well and how they are improving.
This issue, I feel, also spills over into the mental health side of things. With government changes to the system some people are now no longer ill enough (whether it be SEND, disabled, mental ill etc) to get the help they need. As if this is a sliding scale.
Again we need to, on an individual basis as well as a societal one, break down the level and bias associated with mental health.
I once chatted to a friend, a cricketer, about how an international cricketer had been in the news discussing mental health issues. That friend went on to discuss how someone with such a good life style could not be depressed and should realize what they has and sort it out.
There comes the issue. They weren’t living a bad enough life on their ranking system to weren’t real sympathy.
This is an issue we see across society the judgement and ranking systems that fuel the them and us mentality.
I’m guilty too….
We all out. Type in teacher tired into Twitter and see that by some miraculous fate we seem to be working in a profession of the most tired people ever…way more that those NHS workers or people working two jobs because “There is no tired like teacher tired”.
I know it’s not meant to be a bad thing and I am guilty too. More often than not the first thing I will talk to family about when I arrive home is how tired we all our, secretly (or not so) thinking “Yeah but you didn’t have a day like mine, I am much tireder than you!”.
Also look at when we start ranking jobs. Too often I have seen different profession fight about how they have it worse so the other should like it and lump it!
People in private companies moan about the luxury the public sector have with pensions or security of their role, while public retort about the perks and salaries that can be achieved. Teachers are told their long hours means nothing since they have such long holiday while pitted against less holiday but not entertaining 30 pupils all day long.
It’s a fight to the bottom, a bowing down to a rank system. How about we don’t fight about who has it worse and how the others should feel lucky and instead fight against the over worked, under paid, undervalued aspects of it all. Why not come together and shout “This is not right for anyone” rather than shouting for others to except the bad as it’s not quite as bad as their bad!
What I am trying to learn to do, can you too?
Not to rank thinks. If you are tired then you are tired. It does not compare to mine because we are different. Plus I am not sure we have a scale to measure levels of tired…I am hoping there won’t ever be one. Tired is not something to be measured. Many other things are not too.
If someone is tired, sick, unwell, in a bad job then try and put yourself aside and help. Campaign, be a comfort or just get a cuppa for them.
If someone is different to you then learn and celebrate them, don’t put them in a box.
If a school is ranked as requires improvement see how, ask them, look forward.