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Mar. 9th, 2013 12:04 pm
sesquepadalia: (Alex)

I know so far my posts about teaching have been mainly amusing and/or heartwarming stories about kids, but I think right now I need a rant.

I've so far been back to the Primary Referral Unit (PRU) where I started out three times, and I've got to know it and enjoy teaching there, but some of the things you see and hear damn near break your heart, and make me so angry I need to vent.

Like the kids who are probably bright enough to get As in their GCSE science, but at best are only going to get a C-D grade because they can only be put in for the bottom tier exams because of gaps in their subject knowledge caused by being bounced around through the school system.

Or the teacher confiding in a colleague how sick it makes her feel that, to one kid, she reminds him of his mother who abused him. And how worried she is that this boy is going to go through his life hating and mistrusting women but there's nothing she can do about it.

Or the kids who aren't shy to let you know that they know this is the dumping ground for them.

Or (in a different PRU) the kids who tell you that they feel like they're in prison.

Or the way that the aim of these centres is to get kids back into mainstream education... but the fact that they get excluded from mainstream schools, then bounced back to a PRU which feeds them back into ME which kicks them back to the PRU just feels like a cycle of rejection for the kids, and it seems almost inevitable that they'll get institutionalised by the system.

Or the one kid who confessed to me and her teacher that she used to be the kind of girl who never imagined she'd touch drugs, but for the last year and a half she's spent every weekend stoned out of her mind on amphetamines. And she knows every come-down is worse than the last, but she gets so depressed, and she can't see a future for herself, and she needs something to make her feel good sometimes. She's fifteen. She's not the only one in that school who self medicates like that.

Or the kids who, when you ask them if they want to try putting some herbs in the cottage pie you're teaching them to make, automatically assume you mean Marijuana.

They shout, they swear, they bully, they're violent, but they can be capable of such acts of compassion - yesterday one of them offered to let me have the last caramel in a box of chocolates, even though they're her favourites as well, and later on was mentoring a new kid and showing him round, helping him settle in. They're good kids, they've just been ignored and beat-down so much that they act out because they  can't find a way out of the terrible situations they find themselves in.

But what makes it worse is that I can't see a way out for them. Best case scenario, we manage to get them through their exams - most of them can't get top grades because they can't be put in for the top tiers. But even if they could, they couldn't afford to go to university. And when even graduates are finding it hard to get jobs these days, the chances they'll find work at the end of it all are slim. The chances of them finding good work are almost nil. The truth is, PRUs are dumping grounds. And no matter how much we teachers kid ourselves, we're treading water here. Yes, we teach them life-skills, like Home Ec. and basic maths and literacy. Maybe that'll be enough for them to get by. But how the hell do you get kids to aim high, have self esteem and ambitions when you know what's waiting for them outside the school gates? How can they plan for the future when they know they haven't got one?

They deserve better than this.

sesquepadalia: (Satire)
Am I the only person who gets annoyed by the use of "Man Cards" and "Man Points"? 

Men do not have a monopoly on being useful and awesome. Nor should being awesome be something out of the ordinary for men but expected for women, or vis versa. 

I approve of the idea of "Adult Points" for people doing something Like An Adult (or Like A Boss, as I've also heard).
I also approve of the idea of "Brownie Points" for going above and beyond the call of duty in being shiny and awesome.

The idea of giving and deducting Man Cards for conforming to gender stereotypes can fuck right off. 

Anyone with me?

Mini- Rant

Feb. 6th, 2012 03:56 pm
sesquepadalia: (Default)
I'm not going to apologise for being angry, only for being slightly less articulate about it than normal.

Who the Fuck is this woman in the Avengers trailers? 
Why the Fuck has she not had A SINGLE LINE YET, let alone a whole movie setting her up, like the rest of the gang?
and
Why the Fuck is there only one of her, while I can count at least 5 blokes (not counting Mr Badass himself, Nick Fury)? 


Ok, I admit, I'm a DC girl at heart... but looking at the Marvel Cannon a bit more closely, I am still really struggling to think of any female characters they've done. With the exception of all the X-Women. Who are still called X-Men.* 

There's Shulkie (She-Hulk for the uninitiated) - Who is essentially The Hulk with boobs...
And Electra, who I know nothing about save the name...
And the girl from the Fabulous Four or Famous Five or whoever they are; The Invisible Woman**

And is that it?

Apparently not according to this list, but that said, I'll give you a shiny penny if you could name half of the women listed there without looking. And how many of Marvel's women are headliners? I can think of 2. Shulkie and Electra. 

Now, I know, the current situation of women in comics is crap, really crap, so maybe it's unfair of me to single out Marvel like this...

So let's look at DC. How many DC Heroines can you name? I'm pretty sure you'll recognise at least some of the following.

Wonder Woman (Plus Donna Troy, Wonder Girl and all the Amazons)
Catwoman
Power Girl
Oracle
Batgirl
All of the Birds of Prey. Not some of them, like the X-Women, or a token one in the Fab Four, ALL OF THEM.
Zatanna
Huntress
Black Canary
Super Girl
About half the Green Lanterns

And that's just the ones who Headline their own series. 
And how about their iconic Villains? Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, the Cheetah and all that lot?

I'm calling Marvel out on this one. 

But I'm also calling DC out on this one too, because, of all those women I've just listed, I think one of them has had a movie made about her (Catwoman) and it wasn't great. I am really annoyed that at the very least they haven't done a Wonder Woman film yet. She's one of the Big Three, and the other two (Batman and Superman) have had Multiple films.

Come on Comics World and Hollywood - there is a whole other 50% of the world out there who would love to be allowed to Kick Ass on the big screen!




*And, ok, I really like the X-men, though some of the films are a little problematic in their treatment of women. Heck, at least their women *exist*, there are plenty of them and they aren't just girlfriends of the main characters. 

** Which says it all really.
sesquepadalia: (Default)
Ok, so a lot of people have been posting about the Mississippi Personhood amendment, which is pretty damn sickening in itself, but I've just come across another utterly horrific piece of legislature under consideration in the states.

That would be the H.R. 358 bill, which, among other things, overrides something called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. Under EMTALA, hospitals must stabilize a pregnant patient who, for example, is facing an emergency obstetric condition or life-threatening pregnancy and either treat her--including an emergency abortion--or if the hospital or staff objects, to transfer her to another facility that will treat her.

Even the staunchest anti-abortion people that I know (or have argued with on the internet) will make exceptions for situations where the mother's life is at stake. And yet this bill is attempting to overturn current legislature which guarantees that. 

Quite seriously, if this bill were to become law, it would be completely legal to leave pregnant women in labour to die, rather than perform an abortion that would save their life. 

I'll let that sink in.

Now try this one: This bill has PASSED in the house of Representatives. 

It has not yet gone before the senate, and Obama has (quite rightly) said that if the bill lands on his desk he will be exercising presidential veto, but the fact that this bill has, not only been proposed, but has gone this far is an enormity beyond words. 
sesquepadalia: (Default)
 What the FUCK!!!???!?!?!?!?!?!?!

"The AHRC was told that research into the "big society" was non-negotiable if it wished to maintain its funding at £100m a year."

WHAT???!!

WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY IS THIS PIECE OF EXCREMENT??!!?
HOW THE FUCK HAVE THEY BEEN ALLOWED TO GET AWAY WITH THIS??

Ok, let's take the caps-lock off for a minute, and look at this a little more sanely.

Academics are said to be furious (YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT THEY'RE FURIOUS - THEY HAVE BLOODY GOOD REASON TO BE!!) over the fact that the AHRC funding - which any PhD student will tell you is like gold-dust made from hen's teeth at the best of times - is now only contingent on academics researching what the government wants - ie this Big Society BULLSHIT to try and give it some sense of legitimacy. THAT'S FUCKING BLACKMAIL!!
Seriously, Camoron (BASTARD, FUCKING BASTARD) and his cronies have "clarified" - yes, the Guardian are using scare-quotes here - a major piece of principle (The Haldane Principle) which says that they aren't allowed to dictate what research money is spent on. And by "clarified" we mean "trashed".

In the words of one Cambridge Academic (professor Peter Mandler):
"The government says they have rewritten the Haldane principle but they have junked it, basically. They say it is now their right to set the priorities for how this funding [is] distributed. They have got the AHRC over a barrel and basically told these guys that they cannot have their money unless they incorporate [these] research priorities. Willetts was negotiating nominally, but the word is that it has come down from the secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, Vince Cable. Almost everyone who hears the story is upset about it."

And in the words of another (A principal at an Oxford college, who did not want to be named) :

"With breathtaking speed, a slogan for one political party has become translated into a central intellectual agenda for the academy."


I just... I'm so angry I can't even speak coherently.

This is not, as one individual who is not going to be named, has said "the government's money" - if it were, I would have less of a problem with this. I would be happy to see David arsewipebastardshitforbrains Thatcher Camoron digging into his own overly-deep pockets and providing funding for whatever research he likes, thus keeping people in much needed employment, but that's never going to happen. This is taxpayer's money he's wielding like the sword of Damocles. And how DARE he. He - and this government, quite frankly - is wreaking havoc upon our society, with no fucking mandate to do so. How long before he starts attacking democracy itself, so he can stay in power? It would be a supreme irony to have helped out in Libya, all the while not noticing our own little home-grown fascist bastard of a leader.

D:

Mar. 7th, 2011 11:52 am
sesquepadalia: (Default)
Band Practice last night, and I got an utterly vile reminder of how much we still need feminism.

Cut to avoid spoiling your day )

The music industry's hard enough to crack into for women as it is, but when you have to put up with that kind of hostility? I'm surprised any of us bother.

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