The education system, is it based on fear?

While sitting on campus this week I purposely took an hour out of my busy day to meet with a friend of mine, who for his own privacy I shall refer to as “Ray.”

Ray has been going through a deep depression, and last week he stopped answering my texts and calls. I got worried about him, really worried and when he texted me about lunch I knew we needed to chat.

We sat down outside of our favorite coffee shop, feeling the tension between us I looked at him and told him I loved him, that I wanted to help him through this. With dead eyes and through pursed lips He said to me, “I love writing, I love my assignments but I never feel like I can take a moment to relax.”

I understood this feeling, every time I want to relax my inner voice starts screaming at me about deadlines, assignments, and the senate checklist of being a full-time student with several part-time jobs.

I looked at him and said, “I know ray, sometimes it can feel like life is just a checklist”

Then he said something to me that was so incredibly true that it was painful.

“Sometimes I think our whole education system is based on fear”

When those words came out of his mouth I looked around, at the coffee shop, all the students working hard, all the students walk quickly to their classes no one really making eye contact but always rushing and the truth in the statement he said hurt.

We talked about how everything is a pressure now, one has to take classes, has to pass perfectly, has to get good grades, all because they HAVE to get the perfect job.

As my day went on this topic stayed with me so I did some digging.

Turns out this isn’t a new idea and one that comes with a lot of evidence

This  Guardian article explores the narrative from Les Turner who’s a retired headteacher at Freckleton Primary School, Preston.

When the Guardian asked Turner about his thoughts on fear in the education system he had this to say,”’We desperately need a period of stabilisation, of consolidation, where changes are kept to a minimum. This is an education system that is based on fear. In an average week, I have 10-15 calls from headteachers about problems that are so serious they’re prepared to admit that they are at their wit’s end. We are very concerned about the future of the profession, for our children.’

I know that what is being researched is true, but I honestly don’t know what to do about it.

So you, like me, someone who might be afraid or worried. Know you deserve to breathe. To not be afraid.