This week I was given the formidable task of convincing kids in Tower Hamlets that reading actually is quite important. Those of you have read my Great Expectations entry will know that I genuinely hold reading in quite high regard. Now I’m not saying that I’m some sort of great authority on the path to success but I’m convinced that the advice I have to give (stay in school, don’t do drugs and read godamnit!) really can make a difference.
Having run ten sessions across five schools in three days, I met a wide spectrum of kids. The pupils I worked with ranged from 12 to 18 in age. Some were a little cheeky, some were very vocal, others were quite shy but they were all responsive, which is what I was really hoping for. Even the group of 170 Year 9 boys I was worried about proved to be a fantastic audience (and not because they’re starved of female attention like a friend suggested).
It kinda made me realise just how much potential kids in Tower Hamlets have and how it is possible for them to succeed, if only they could find a way through all the barriers in their way. Perhaps I am another brick in the wall but that’s okay, it’s kinda the point I wanted to make; there is a wall – make sure you’re on the right side.
I will admit when I first stood in front of a class, a supposed paragon of all that is possible, I did feel a little fraudulent (they’re meant to look up to me?) but as I went on, I really felt appreciated because these kids related to me and were genuinely proud of me.
Yes, I am scaring myself a little since I usually find comfort in relentless cynicism, but I reckon these kids ended up inspiring me more than I hoped to inspire them.
Spoonful of sugar, anyone?