Sunday, 8 February 2015

Everyday assumptions

Not too long ago, a mighty fuss was raised on Twitter (other media/emotional outlets are also available) when an exceptionally accomplished and intelligent scientist wore a shirt on TV. His name was Matt Taylor, and is an ESA Rosetta Project Scientist.

He was the first man, ever, to land a probe on a comet ... he wore a shirt and had tattoos.

As numerous outraged women, who had been waiting for just such an opportunity to feast upon, raised their haunches from their Draylon sofas, smoothed down their sensible twinsets and took to the air to vent their spleen rather than celebrate the achievement, scientists ignored them.

Image is not accomplishment.

They continued for some time though, turning up the volume on their faux outrage and protesting that women everywhere had been violated.


I thought these people only existed in the ether; the Van Allen belt of existence and thankfully, I would be unlikely to ever cross the path of one in real life.

Today though I had to take my son to casualty. He is in his late twenties with longish hair and tattoos on his arms. He has a university education, a well paid responsible job and kind to small children and animals.

He had tripped up on a kerb stone and had a suspected fractured or dislocated shoulder. We were warmly welcomed, treated with care and warmth; then he took his shirt off and revealed his tattoos, there was an imperceptible but definite change in the atmosphere. Questions that had previously been innocuous, kind even solicitous, suddenly became more pointed. Did he drink to excess, did he take any medication, authorised or not, was he .... ???

This, because he has tattoos?

In FE we don't judge students by their piercings, tattoos, body shape or image, clothing, shoes or hairstyles and colours.

We judge them on who are they are inside of all the window dressing.

People may knock teachers, lecturers and FE but I know that my son, or any other son including Matt Taylor would always be warmly welcomed in an FE college, not judged on his appearance.

It seems that FE can teach the rest of British Society a thing or two about books, covers and what really counts.

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