Saturday, November 26, 2011


I have just been to London for the day to visit family; aunt, uncle, and cousins. The warmth and generosity we received has made me reflect not just on how lucky I am, but also on how important family is in supporting and giving a sense of identity. I have family scattered around the UK and abroad, but I always feel their love and encouragement in whatever I do. This is in stark contrast to an experience earlier this week where I was teaching in a school in a deprived area. The children were actually lovely but there were the not-unusual home issues that led to some behavioural and emotional problems. I thought nothing particularly of it, but after school I popped into the local shop for a few things. Suddenly I was in a hostile environment, with the suspicious stares that only the English seem to have perfected and a quietly aggressive atmosphere. I suddenly had an insight into just a slice of the life of some of these children, and considered how difficult it must be to discard the outer-shell at the school gates which serves so well outside, and to be open and trusting inside school when perhaps outside they have to be more guarded. To know these things in theory is one thing, but to experience it, even for just a moment is something else.

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