Monday, 5 October 2015

Who want to go to school? - Montunrayo Akande

Maths is so boring and hard. I cannot be bothered to learn how to sew in my Home Economics or Technology lesson. Why do we have to learn French in school? I said some of these statements when I was in school. As I have grown older, I have come to see the importance of learning these subjects. A case in point would be languages. The British Council noted that learning foreign languages provides benefits to the economy, trade and improves employability as some multinational companies value job candidates with language skills. Likewise, we learn skills and knowledge from these subjects that are useful in our daily lives. I get to use my maths skills when I’m calculating what percentage of my income I save each month.
At the moment, I am able to share my love for learning as a volunteer with City Year UK, a charity that supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds. I explain academic concepts to them and I believe that this would prepare them for academic assessments and life, in general. My knowledge of fractions has been tested as I offered one to one support to students to help them understand how to add fractions. Now, I am glad I listened during my secondary school Maths classes. I do not know everything and attending classes has improved my knowledge. From attending design and technology classes, I learnt the basics in manufacturing and fashion design. In science, I assisted in a class where students learnt about the organs of the body. I believe that these lessons provide a solid foundation to potentially considering a career in a field related to these subjects.
Going back to school to serve with City Year UK has made me reflect on the importance of school. The impact education has makes me think of the young people who are denied access to quality education in developing countries. Lacking this education narrows their ability to work in certain professions which could influence their potential earnings. I graduated from university in July and I hope that more people would be given the opportunity to go to university as well.
School made a difference in my life by equipping me with lifelong skills and knowledge that has helped me make better decisions. Attending school for me was not just about the academic achievement, even though that was important. It was a time where I learnt to be independent and to relate with people from different backgrounds. I serve with City Year UK to create positive experiences for students and to motivate students who have lost interest in school because I see the long-term impact of improving their engagement in school.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Cage - Alice Kitson

Students are not allowed to eat in the playground. At break time I'm the only member of staff in ‘the cage’ (or more recently named ‘the tennis court area’) The cage, is a large space, roughly the size of three basketball courts, it's mainly filled with boys from Year's 9 and 10 playing football and basketball.
In this area at break time a large number of the students proceed to eat, litter and get their phones out. When I walk over the students they quickly hide their phones, as confiscation is a risk. I ask them to at least hide their phones better if they’re planning on getting them out as it's just plain disrespectful. As I am new working at Haggerston School they don’t know me as a member of staff yet, respect has to be earned and I haven’t earned theirs yet. As the litter drops the blame game begins and unless I see them drop it I can't say whose it was so no one is keen to pick up something unwanted from the floor.  When I do ask them to pick up the rubbish they are quick to say they didn't drop it, or 'it's not my job, someone else gets paid to do that' In which I remind them, someone else is paid to collect the litter, however they may not be paid very well and you are simply creating more unnecessary work for them.
More recently I have taken to bringing our office bin with me at break time during the cage as there is no bin nearby. I've been walking up to students informing them of the whereabouts of the bin and encouraging them to bring their rubbish to me. Several of the comments I've received have been 'Miss, this isn't your job!' 'Miss, why are you doing this?'
So far this has been successful, the bin has been full by the end of every break with students even running over to me to use it, however I still have to watch some of the children. Sometimes I get students angrily throwing rubbish in the bin, so much so that it then blows out leaving me to pick it up however often a nearby student will see this and collect it for me, in an attempt to show they know it's not just my responsibility. I still catch people littering, however it's decreasing, as is the eating in the playground especially when there are more staff members around.
Next steps: Contacting the caretakers regarding a permanent bin in the cage and exploring if there's a reason why there can't be as well as exploring how to get around this.
Also looking into increasing the number of recycling bins in the playgrounds.
The first breaks bin collection.