Growing up and schooling in London, I hated going to classes. I thought “Why am I learning algebra?” I’m literally going to never use it again. Same for trigonometry, most geography lessons and I definitely didn’t need to learn about what the colour red represented in ‘Of Mice and Men’- It was anger by the way.
As a teacher working in South London, I get asked the same questions, but instead of joining in on the complaints, I actually have to answer; “Because it’ll help your future“, (whether I whole-heartedly agree or not)
There are so many things I wished I had learnt:
· How to save and spend effectively,
· What a mortgage is,
· First aid including CPR,
· Dealing with anger and emotions,
· Building resilience and dealing with disappointment,
· Positive body image and the meaning of relationships,
· Basic economic skills like cooking, changing light bulbs, changing care tyres,
· Mental health awareness and how to look after myself, but to name a few…
NB: Now I’m not saying what we learnt hasn’t been of use! I definitely needed to know arithmetic to know if I was being short-changed in supermarkets and comprehending pieces of text when messaging my friends, but I strongly believe that alongside the formal education there should be a large element of informal life skills education.
Thankfully, I have parents who were and are still very supportive, so I was lucky enough to learn these skills from them.
However, across London and the UK, children are missing out on these crucial life skills, parents aren’t able to teach them, because they’re working, trying to provide for them, or they weren’t taught these things themselves.
Teachers already have a massive workload and a tight curriculum to follow and often, no autonomy to teach those in their care these important skills.
So my question is to the government is: Where and when do the next generation learn important life skills?
According the UK Government ethnicity facts and figures, Black Caribbean students are 3 times more likely to be excluded from school than their white counterparts and Black people have the second highest unemployment rates when comparing to 5 other ethnicities.
Unfortunately, I have a word limit so I can’t too deep into my analysis, but clearly, there’s a gap. If black children aren’t learning in class and as adults they are deemed not to have appropriate work skills, what hope do they have?
Who is helping them?
Now in the current climate of uncertainty and prejudice. Black children and young adults need skills to fall back on; they need people to answer burning questions, to guide them, to enable them to become independent learners. Because, as we all know, excellency is in our blood, we just have to be nurtured.
StrongOakLtd is a company committed to empowering the individual with key life skills. Now offering discounted rates for patrons of all ages to be trained and qualified first aiders. Will be offering key life skills sessions in the near future.
Website: Coming soon