BIRD Magazine


Get thee out of my heart, my soul
You’re not at all welcome here
So get you gone, just go!–
You, are not needed–nor is your fear!
by Pamela Rae[2]
Like many other teachers in Portugal, my year does not start in January. In fact, the Christmas season is just a festive break to enjoy with my family. September is my New Year. From day one I start preparing for the school year to come and plan my life around that. By the second week the butterflies in my stomach are “alive and kicking” and the anticipation is palpable. I love the start of a new school year: meeting new students and colleagues, reuniting with old acquaintances, lots of new ideas to put in motion – everything reminds me that I am able to give it one more go and that I able to mend errors, change point of views and improve what went well.
I am always excited and happy at the idea of starting afresh!
However, after teaching for several years in various school around Portugal and at various levels, I am always taken aback by the negativity that some of our students bring with them to class. This year was no exception. Except for the odd one or two who seem genuinely happy to be there, the majority think it’s pointless.
They have no faith in the system, they don’t believe in themselves and consequently don’t want to try to learn. It is clear that they are disappointed with school, disappointed at their failure and that disappointment has led to a generation of disillusioned youngsters. How frustrating! How sad!
I don’t really blame them – after only three days at the new school I’ve learnt to curb my smiles, my enthusiasm and my cheerful disposition. It’s not welcome. I know the educational system is flawed, I know society doesn’t treat teachers with their well-deserved and much-needed respect but a heavy mist of disillusionment has settled too strongly amongst my peers. So hard that it frustrates any attempt made to evade it.
It’s a terrible disease and it spreads at galloping speed. It poisons the souls of the teachers, the staff and unfortunately the students.
Disillusionment be gone!
May the gentle weather and the golden colours of Autumn bestow us with the gratifying gift of hope, love and peace.

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