CONTACT

News

09 May 2022

Pastoral Blog: the snowflake generation?

Pastoral Blog: the snowflake generation?

It has now become a lazy shortcut to describe today’s young people in less than flattering terms. The term “snowflake generation” has now entered the Collins Dictionary, and young people are often all lumped together by uninspired writers into this one category. Is this description really fair though?

One accusation which is often levelled against the young is that they are no longer able to take part in robust debate, and that they require “safe spaces” to ensure that they can remain in their echo chambers and not have to listen to any opinion which opposes theirs. However, this increased sensitivity can be reframed. In my twenty years of teaching, I have never seen so many young people willing to stand up for the rights of others than I see today.

When I was at school myself, it was common for young people to be teased by their peers for things such as national origin (in my racially homogenous rural Scottish school, this took the form of “Scotsman, Englishman and Irishman” jokes), body shape (with “fatty” and “bony” both being liberally used), stature and hair (I was “shorty”, one of my classmates was “ginger”). It was all seen as a rite of passage. Nowadays, any such comments would be seen as unacceptable, not just by teachers, but also by peers. Heterosexual students stick up for those who are LGBT+, students of all races got behind the Black Lives Matter movement, and many young men are proud to be feminist. Today’s young people are courageous and vocal, and not afraid to speak their mind. More than this, they are prepared to speak out on behalf of others in a way which I did not encounter in my earlier days of teaching.

Schools and colleges are filled with young people who are willing to stand up for what is right. As an example, one of our Year 13 students, Avesta, only yesterday stood for election as a Local Councillor for the Labour Party in Ealing. Avesta, while unfortunately not being elected, achieved an impressive 1154 votes. He has a clear sense of civic responsibility, and he already holds the offices of LGBTQ+ Officer and IT Officer for the Ealing Central & Acton Labour Party, and the Membership Secretary for the Hanger Hill ward, as well as being the the Founder and (Interim) Chair of London's rapidly growing Scientists for Labour Branch. Avesta, who also holds an offer from UCL to study Physics, is definitely not a snowflake!

We need to move beyond lazy stereotypes and see young people as individuals in the same way that we would like ourselves to be seen. For some reason, it still seems to be acceptable to be critical of the young as a group in a way that we wouldn’t do with other groups of people.

I have unfortunately been unable to catch up with Avesta after his late night at the count last night, but an interview with him is coming soon!

  • 18

    Aug

    A Level Results 2022 - A Return to Normality

    Ealing Independent College 2022 A Level Results - Closer to Normality After the disruption of COVID on students and teachers alike, how have our stude...

  • 15

    Aug

    The Monday Briefing: Don't stop me now

    So began the very first Monday Briefing, written on the 24th August 2020 and entitled ‘A Day in The Life (of a Principal)’ in the aftermath of the cal...

  • 08

    Aug

    Options Open - GCSE Retakes

    In the article last week, we explored the extensive powers of the College in turning lives around. This week, the theme is extended to GCSEs.  At Eali...

  • 01

    Aug

    Options Open - Improving grades at A Level

    If I was asked where the College is truly at its best, where it most obviously makes a positive contribution, my answer would be a relatively straight...

  • 25

    Jul

    Options Open - Careers in Medicine, Dentistry and Vet Science

    For those students who are interested in studying Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science, the hard work must start long before the UCAS deadline f...

  • 18

    Jul

    Options Open - A change could do you good

    Making a change part way through A Levels should probably be considered as one of the hardest changes which a student can make. It takes bravery, cour...

  • 11

    Jul

    Options Open - Being flexible, but sticking to our principles

    There are several perks for our staff as part of a small college: the smaller class sizes enable more targeted teaching; more time per pupil can be sp...

  • 04

    Jul

    Options Open - Moving straight into work after A Levels

    Sometimes it can feel like young people are on a conveyor belt, with an inevitable progression from secondary school to university and then to a gradu...

  • 27

    Jun

    Options Open - The International Experience

    Over the summer break, the College will be showcasing further the options available at Ealing. This will be the first in a series of articles, named ‘...

  • 21

    Jun

    Teacher Tuesday: Allan

    For the last “Teacher Tuesday” of the Academic year, we present a special edition piece, as today we're joined by Allan Cairns, Ealing Independent Col...

  • 20

    Jun

    The Monday Briefing: Get it Together

    How do we ensure that we consolidate all of the exceptional work which we do here? How do we find ways to improve things further?

  • 15

    Jun

    Re-sitting GCSE exams: Tania's Story

    How often do we hear about students not being happy with their GCSE results? How often are they prevented from following the academic path they dream ...