Teenage Dirtbag[s].

There are times when I find myself amazed and horrified and truly helpless when I consider the lives that some of the students at work have.

And there are other times when it all seems so normal

I’ve been working at Naughty School for three and a half years now.  I’ve watched young people become older young people, usually over the course of the two years that they stay with us. And I suppose that I’ve become ever-so slightly desensitized to the issues that befall them and the way that they spend their days.  Beginning this job was a culture shock for me, despite the fact that I’d worked in a couple of mainstream schools with fairly poor levels of behaviour.  I suspect that any move back to a mainstream school will result in another culture shock … What?  You mean that not all teenagers are fecking b.astards?  

These are the teenagers who run away from home and don’t get mentioned in the local [let alone the national] press.  They’re the youngsters whose parents sell them [their bodies] for a quick fix, thereby making them believe they can choose to do it themselves for their own quick fix, that it’s ok.  They’re the kids whose parents couldn’t give a damn.  They’re the hoodies hanging around on street corners because there’s nowhere else to go.  These teens think nothing of grabbing knives and other weapons to attack their own siblings. They don’t care about getting into trouble because it’s a way of life for them.  Police?  F.uck ’em.  What can they do? 

Legally they are still children.  Mentally, despite their outward appearances of being streetwise and hard, they are still children.  They are vulnerable, and many of them are scared, or worried, or just angry, at a family or system which has continually let them down.  Even I forget that they are children. 

I’m not making excuses for them.  I look at some of our kids and wonder what they’re doing with us when they come from fairly respectable and supportive backgrounds; I know that eventually those kids will stop fighting the people who care and will become more mature, and develop better social skills, enabling them to achieve some sort of success. 

But some of our most vulnerable youngsters make me feel so sad.  Is it any wonder that they become so hostile towards any form of authority when they’ve been pushed from pillar to post by parents who neither really wanted them nor who care enough about them to act like a real parent.  When they’ve been brought [dragged] up with a different ‘uncle’ at the breakfast table [or in their own childhood bed] every morning, or drug addicts traipsing through the house, or neighbours threatening [sometimes actually doing] to burn the house down, or the police knocking on the door every five minutes, or dad spending just five minutes out of prison before he has to go back inside for a new crime, or no boundaries, or all of the above and countless more things, can we really expect them to be perfect little angels?

We have one girl at Naughty School who is intelligent, funny, beautiful and caring.  She could go far with her life.  But, at fifteen, she is choosing to escape her baby-making drug addicted parents by falling for the wrong boy [man] and living a life fuelled by violence and crime.  And if we don’t catch her before she leaves us in May there’s a possibility that she’ll never escape the cycle of [chavscum] life created for her by her parents.

And that creates such an overwhelming feeling of frustration and sadness in my belly. 

I sometimes wish there was a magic wand that I could wave in the air to rid the world of appalling parents.  But there isn’t.  And I am truly grateful to have been brought up by a truly wonderful woman who was never short of offering me security and love.

please God bless those vulnerable kids who deserve better in life xxx Elsabeth



  1. I’ve just started temping for the local youth branch of a national charity – and some of the things I’ve seen on the referral sheets are horrible. I don’t get how young people could be exposed to such crap. It’s no way to live a life.
    L xx

  2. I used to think that about the children in the school I worked at, and then I began to realise that there are so many who don’t make it to school who don’t even get the chance to benefit from people like you… and they were the ones I really did feel for. Be secure in the knowledge that what you can do for the youngsters in “the system” is hopefully something that will stay with them, somewhere, for the rest of their lives.

  3. One of the things that keeps me going at Guides is believing that if those girls are in an all girl environment once a week then maybe, just maybe, it’ll keep them away from some of that sort of ghastliness for a wee while longer. Even if they do end up with me bellowing at them ‘cos I really want to go home, and it’s well past ending time, and they still haven’t tidied up.  ~x~

  4. hello,
    i read your blog on occasion and i don’t think i have ever commented before…
    anyhow. i have a friend who works at an alternative school and i honestly wonder how she does it. i cannot even picture how frustrating it must be for those of you who deal with situations like that day in and day out. i don’t think i would have the patience or the strength to do it.
    good for you!
    – dawLs x0x0

  5. I love the fact you work in a school. It’s very reassuring to know there are people like you looking out for these kids. RYC: No I haven’t. I’ve seen bits of “I Spit…” during Film classes at uni. Not a film I think I could stomach. Anywhichway, why do you ask? They’re readily available on DVD from Amazon these days if you’re looking for them.

  6. RYN: I’ve flitted back and forth between being tired of the whole thing to being fascinated with the process and back again (with occasional bouts of apathy in between) for the past year. To be honest, we all thought that this particular season of campaigning had begun way too early – and I believe there should be some sort of limit placed on it. All in all, I am glad that the primary season is winding down. There will be a few more primaries this month and a few more in March, then ours in April, and a couple in May and June. I usually turn a deaf ear after we vote in the primary for a few months just for sanity reasons. Then, after the convention in August, I will delve in full force until the general election in November.Then I get to relax for another 3 years or so. I have to say that if I didn’t find the whole thing so intriguing most of the time, I’m sure I’d be bored to tears!

  7. RY 2nd N: You don’t have to apologize! I think I’d be apathetic about elections in the UK if they were as long and drawn out as ours were! (and I have to admit to being rather mystified by the terminology some of the time…) It must have been a slow news day in the UK for the US primaries to be such a huge deal!

  8. Without teachers who care like your good self there wouldn’t be much hope. I sometimes look at society and think bad things, I’m guilty of mocking the “smackheads” and I don’t feel guilty for it, it’s a choice and they chose wrong, in my opinion. But I’ve been around there too, I grew up in one of the 1000’s of drug and crime ridden council estates in the UK, fortunately for me I’m surrounded by good people. Sounds to me like you’re one of those good people who surround others. Me I’m a cynic, sometimes I wish I could empathise, but for some reason I can’t.

  9. That seems entirely discouraging on many levels. The “however” in all of it must be that if you can reach just one of them then you have done a tremendous thing, although, I am not sure if it will ever stop feeling like you may well be shoveling shit against the tide (cute american idiom, yes / no?).
    All of that aside I hope you are well ducky.

  10. sounds like you are feeling a similar frustration to my not-so-eloquently-put remark of the other night.  I suppose all we can do is keep praying and keep trying to make a difference while we are here.  Ultimately, it is still up to the individual what path they want to take.  Hopefully, we can at least show them that there are better things for them if they want them.  take care, dave out.

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