I used to be a people person. I used to love interacting with people and understanding their way of thinking and what and why they thought what they think. However, I scroll through my facebook feed this morning, compounded with some situations that are going on in real life have made me question whether I really even want to consider myself as a part of the human race anymore. The way that some people think is just so stuffed up – and yes, I know the contradiction I am about to make myself. A post about being annoyed about how people think on a narcissistic blog is just stupid. But I just need a rant space, and this is the closest I’m going to get.
I read an article today about how a Qantas staff member booked 150 school students onto a flight as adults instead of children, and in turn the weight of the plane was dangerously out. I understand why the staff member did it – the weight for a child is registered as 32kg, and the majority of year 6 kids would probably be closer to 45kg give or take, so she probably thought to err on the side of caution and book them through as adults. But the adult registered weight for Qantas is 87kg. Even if the kids are bigger kids, that’s still at least a 30-40kg difference. Multiply that by 150 kids and you’re in dangerous territory. Luckily the pilot was good and flew the plane safely to its destination.
However, what do you think the public took away from it? Childhood obesity. Every comment was one about how childhood obesity is on the rise, and we need to help Australian kids lose weight, eat healthily and move more. Either these people didn’t read the article at all, or they misunderstood where the kids were sitting – the headline was “nose-heavy after over-estimating kids’ weight” or something along those lines. The kids were at the back, meaning that the back of the plane was lighter than expected. If there was a tenuous link to childhood obesity, it was that adults expect kids to be more overweight than they actually are.
The reason this makes me less of a people person is that people are so quick to judge without gathering all the information. They saw the headline and made a comment about the article without reading it. And all of them were to take a stab at our kids, or our culture. I’m not saying there’s NOT a problem with childhood obesity – but I don’t think it’s as big an issue as some would believe. In my current teaching cohort there’s probably half-a-dozen kids who are overweight for their height out of about 250. In the whole school, there might be 20 or 30 in a school of nearly 800. The teaching staff, however, are another matter. I’d say that almost all of us are overweight.
Then there’s issues at school which also highlight these things – but as you know if you’ve read my blog before, I’m not allowed to vent about that anywhere. But let’s just say that it isn’t a pleasant environment to work in. There’s bullying happening towards teachers from other teachers, admin and even the students. And it’s all being allowed to happen, because if the teacher complains they’ll be told to “reconsider their relationships”. Fair enough – but what about after you’ve done that and it’s still not okay? Since when is it okay to go to work and feel threatened?
Then there’s the wider population in general – people who maim others out of “love”, young men raping sex workers and the media claiming it’s okay, people leaking nude photos of celebrities, people attacking others for saying that the best defence is personal safety (with regard to e-safety: if you don’t put things on public spaces, like facebook or even in the cloud, it’s less likely to wind up somewhere you wished it weren’t). We live in a culture that’s so ready to blame everyone but ourselves. And the people that do blame themselves and look for support are told “well you should know better”.
But now – you should dismiss my post as hypocritical, which I fully recognise that it pretty much is. I know that I’m judging others. I know that I’m blaming others for my unhappiness. But what I’ve also done is try to rectify what I can in myself. I’ve looked at my own thought patterns – do I think someone is bullying me unfairly? How have I acted in the interaction? What could I have done to stop it? Is it actually fair to think this person is bullying me? Or in the face of a student – did I handle that appropriately? What could I have changed? Why do I expect that children should respect teachers when I’ve always argued that respect is earned? Not that that negates anything.