Frankly I didn’t think I’d get to my lecture this morning. I’ve been working late into the night most evenings this week and normally (since about last year anyway) I can’t cope with this level of sleep deprivation. Also I thought that I’d end up finding yet something else I hadn’t done on this assignment (the third time I’d have thought it was finished only to reread the brief and discover it wasn’t) and skiving the lecture: not something I tend to do on this course but given the amount of people I noticed doing it last term I figured I’d probebly end up getting away with it. As it happened it seems the course tutor had noticed the sheer amount of people skipping last terms GPS lecture on the morning our assignment was due in as she poked her nose through the door and took a register…hmmm back to my undergraduate days with that one! Or maybe she still thinks shes a teacher….or maybe she actually cares that we learn all we’re supposed to on this course.
Anyway I made it to the lecture, my four thousand word assignment and thousand word justification got printed with lots of pretty pictures and even though extreme knackeredness was setting in I got to the lecture theatre and sat down in the comfortable warmness imagining I could vaguely doze through the lecture and read the nice coloured handouts.
The the lecturer prefaced his spiel with the words “The things discussed in this lecture are not intended to shock you. If you feel you need to leave then you may. Please feel free to discuss the case studies we will be going over with me after the lecture if you are upset by them.”
Believe me that was not the sort of lecture it was possible to dose through, not by any stretch of the imagination.
I sat with some other people from my course in the coffee shop after the lecture. There is normally quite a bit of conversation, usually bitching about our tutors or mentors or how generically appalling the workload is. Not today. Today everyone sat at the table and stared at their coffee or tea. Then we went to the next lecture, and personally I couldn’t concentrate on ‘Stereotyping in the classroom’, luckily there are pretty coloured hand outs for that as well.
Whats normal and whats abusive? That was an excercise near the beginning, before we got onto the horrific case studies.
A mother breast feeding her one year old child
A mother breast feeding her four year old child
A father cuddling his fifteen year old daughter
A father regularly undressing his eleven year old son
Two five year old boys touching each other’s genitals during play
A ten year old boy touching a five year old girl’s genitals during play
Of course the very question was denounced after we did the excercise. Normal is a social construct according to two German sociologists. Only one of the sentence above turned out to be non-abusive, only one sentence above turned out to be abusive. All of the others could be either given context, and even the ‘abusive’ sentence I ended up argueing into a context where it was non-abusive.
And then we got the case studies. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have children. I don’t understand why some people have children. And some people? How can they not know how to care for children? How is it possible?
I left the lecture this morning with one happy thought. At least now I can listen. When I was a young leader a Girl Guide wanted to talk to me about her sexuality; she’d seen me in town with my girlfriend but according to the legalities of Guides I couldn’t talk to her. I gave her a load of phone numbers, I’ve no idea if she ever called them. I’ve no idea if she ever got help or advice. Admittedly I was seventeen, what advice could I have given her? None if I wanted my warrant, and I did want my warrant so I palmed her off. As a teacher I can listen, I have to tell the child I can’t always keep confidentiality though.
I’m not cut out for this. I’m weak and silly and I need a job where I can typeand effect someone elses life no more than a gnat.