Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Catch 22

“There was only one catch and that was Catch 22, that specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of the clause of Catch 22 and let out a respectful whistle.”

“The enemy, is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on... And don’t you forget that, because the longer you remember it, the longer you might live.”

It is a tragedy that our society places less and less faith in the moral responsibilities and duties of its citizens and an ever increasing reliance in policies and procedures. I look at my reception children and it is hard to appreciate that many of them come from such difficult homes. Many children are unable to relate to one another – they do not know how to laugh and have fun. Other children have been denied love and care – they do not know how special and important they are as individuals.

Over the years, the ever more stringent legislation to ‘protect the child’ has become a barrier that prevents natural interactions of life to be encouraged. Human contact is essential; a hug, holding hands – these reassurances and demonstrations of care, affection and love are vital for the development of the whole person.

False allegations of assault, removes the freedom to touch, to comfort and to reassure. I soon realized that, even if the charges / allegations were dropped, that I could never have the freedom to enjoy and encourage these spontaneous demonstrations of care – the merest touch might be construed as assault – even sexual assault … I ask where is society going ? To deny a suffering, distressed child a warm cuddle – is that not a crime ? What message will they inherit ? - Society does not care – only the rules have any import … little wonder that our society is failing and continues to rebel !

As my children learn and develop, it is amazing to watch their personal skills and regard for one another grow. In my class, we have a teddy, Roxanne; each child is allowed to take Roxanne home with them and they relate visits and experiences that they have shared to the class. In many ways, like the Velveteen Rabbit, Roxanne becomes a ‘real’ member of the class and even wears a school uniform and participates in events - here she is as ‘paramedic bear’. The children find great comfort from Roxanne and are quick to pass her into the arms of a child in distress (or sometimes to a teacher !).

Within a few weeks of my suspension, I realized that life would never be the same – eyes of suspicion would always be present, my confidence is gone and the trust in other colleagues no longer exists. You will never know your enemies for everyone is now a threat. You have to accept that your career, inspirational hopes and new ideas for the future have been taken and destroyed.

I now find that there is a stark reality – the ultimate Catch 22. If I fight to win my case then ultimately I must, by definition, lose. For it is a hollow victory – you can never recover what has been taken and to return to an environment of suspicion and mistrust is not an acceptable option. If I lose my case – then what ? Life must go on – not easy but at least there is a conclusion an end to my suffering and anguish. I worry about personal finances, losing my home and many other related aspects of my life – but remember, for months you have had no control over your destiny – now, even though there will be difficult decisions, at least you are now free to face new challenges and opportunities – there is life after teaching !