“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”, said every demotivated teacher ever about every demotivated student that ever existed.
Every year, for every teacher, the beginning of the Easter holidays is the calm before the storm. It is the peaceful time of reflection and hopefully some nicer weather before the shit that is the A-Level, GCSE and SATS exams well and truly hits the fan. As we embark on silly season, I would much rather encourage my students to want to learn and see the benefits of learning, rather than forcing them to learn through the threat of sanctions, detentions, punishments, whatever you call them.
With the first approach we develop independent, resourceful, problem solving people who can quantify and visualise the value gained from the investment of their labour. With the second approach, all we end up creating is a set of caged animals who have been bullied in a prison that they have been forced to attend each and every day against their will and shown how to jump through hoops like monkeys to pass an exam.
Now my question is this. Which type of person is more likely to be financially independent? Which type of person is more likely to be a wage slave? How do you perceive your schooling to be?
Much has been made about the Coalition and Conservative governments move to “rigourous assessment”* and the general abolition of BTECs, and to a certain extent I agree with them. Anyone who thought it was acceptable that we can let poor kids leave shit schools with BTEC’s supposedly worth “3 GCSE A equivalents” is an idiot. Well if anyone thinks “rigour” is making people learn the dates of every king and queen, learn poems, times tables and science formulae by rote without any contextual understanding is equally an idiot.
We have now found ourselves in a state where we are teaching our children to swan throughout the world without questioning, analysing, and having any freedom of thought. The wage slavery of the masses is rooted in our schools.
I can’t deny that the better half was a little less than enthused when I listed the sacrifices we would need to make to achieve FIRE. I think it’s fair to say that limited holidays, no credit card use, walking more, shopping at quality save and B&M, consuming less and eating out less failed to get the adrenaline pumping. So I am taking the approach of trying to “Be the change I want to see”. I won’t lie and say this has been easy for me. There are times when I have got frustrated and my chimp thinks she is deliberately driving the car everywhere to make me work longer, which I know is stupid! I am far too obsessed with tracking the day to day spending. She grumbles everytime I overpay the mortgage or “squirrel all our money away”. “Life is for living” she repeats. This is all fair and I get that. We are aligned with our views about cars and how they are purchased, the use of credit cards, and not wasting food, but that is where our alignment somewhat ends. She probably thinks an index fund is a pot of cash for purchasing items from the Index catalogue. Remember that? Only down the line will she see the benefits of investing over time and building a wealth snowball to at the very worst care for her when she is old and frail and at best allow us to retire early. I can show her the light along the way by “being the change I want to see” or shine it brightly in her eyes. I would be lying if I haven’t tried to shine the light in her eyes on a few occasions, but deep down I know which one will produce a caged animal that will try to escape….
I know time, patience and perseverance will deliver the panacea that is financial independence for my family. Maybe we will end up having a nice Yin and Yang approach of a happy balance of her thinking for happiness now and me thinking about happiness down the line….
This is not an exit.
*My spine tingles everytime I hear that twat Gove utter the words “rigour”