Saturday, 8 October 2016

Post Traumatic School Disorder

Post Traumatic School Disorder

I think I am "thick at maths" which is odd considering when I was at school I could have told every formula for G.C.S.E physics. Odder still that I worked with long addition and money from the age of 13. I was a bright kid, clearly good at many things (and not afraid to show it). Maths and spelling were my Achilles heel.
We were organised into "sets" by age 12 and what I learned was if you are "bad at maths" they just don't bother. My teacher couldn't hold the attention or stop the class from erupting into violence.
I learned practically nothing for years. Well that isn't true I learned that you just have to "deal with it" if you are slapped, spat at, walloped with a ruler, and I didn't even think of this time in my school life as the time I was bullied.
"Maths" teaches me still. I wonder now if the rage (and oh there was so much rage) came from the kids being given up on and shamed, all, day, long.
This is from a time in my life when I would have told you I was enjoying school. I was House Captain, Head Prefect, had friends.
Yet between my maths teacher, chemistry teacher and English teacher school was still a traumatic place. My maths teacher couldn't and didn't teach, my chemistry teacher bullied me horribly and made my life difficult as she detested me, and my English teacher who would make us do spelling tests every and shamed me every single time (I am also sure she stole a poem I wrote as my coursework and passed it off as she own) I got humiliated and shamed and sure I was rubbish at things.
There are times now I still feel ashamed, and horrified at my "lack ". Yet I am dyslexic. Especially with numbers. I have to work three times as hard as everyone else, and I did.
Simple screen test at college allowed me to know that fact I was dyslexic and I escaped having to get a G.C.S.E in maths to allow me to continue my further education.
My younger sister had the same maths teacher as me and had to re-take maths G.C.S.E three times at college because she simply wasn't taught at school the stuff to pass it.
My mum was a teacher. She had a sort of "teacher-mode". It was weird because I could see that teachers were people, but they were never allowed to be "real".
I was the first person to get a degree in my family.
You'd think that it was a success story.
It wasn't until quite recently I began to realise how much "stuff" I carry around from then.
I wonder what I could have achieved if I hadn't been told "oh you are this kind of person", sorted in a box and told over and over again I was the problem.
"You suck at this thing."

We started our Home Education journey out of desperation. The bullying started as soon as she got there. Foot print bruises where she had been stamped on. She was kicked, punched and pushed off toys. From the age of 4.
We asked to move schools but that was "impossible".
So we started to Home Educate "until we can get her into school".
Then we sort of fell in love with it.I would do it all so very differently now. More relaxed, more fun. More groups and support.
This has it's own kind of trauma.

Yet my daughter has never been told by us she "can't do this thing".
There is not "subject" (not that we learn that way) my daughter "can't" do.
Imagine if we stopped tell our kids that THEY were the problem. That THEY need to fit into this box what they might be good at.
The layers of Post School Trauma are many and complex. I believe some of it stems from how the system treats the kids (and teachers). I believe some of it is the culture of acceptable violence, shame and fear.
If we stopped being ashamed, and afraid imagine what we as a world could do?

Home education is far too important to take seriously.

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