One of the greatest things about teaching is that you get to witness first-hand the workings of young minds. As any idealistic teaching recruitment advert will tell you, there is nothing better than seeing a young person grapple to make sense of something, only to grab the fucker intellectually with both hands and receieve that sense of satisfaction that us really, really, really smart people get all the time.
On the other hand, there are also few things more frustrating than seeing a child struggle painfully to grasp even the simplest of concepts, no matter how much assistance they receieve. Yet this is part of the job, and despite the frustration it's probably the most rewarding part - assuming that they do get it in the end. When they don't, the best thing to do is just to point at an imaginary angry looking badger over their shoulder and then run to the nearest pub post-haste for a nice, numbing pint. Mmmm, denial never tasted so good.
The focus of this here brain nugget of mine is, however, not so much about the general confusion of young people, but more about the level of bewilderment that Mr Bush has caused children all around the world.
Teaching Citizenship you have to teach lessons on many controversial issues, as well as looking closely at topics like conflict and human rights. Needless to say that in today's political climate, Iraq comes up quite a lot. But what never ceases to amaze me is how many times that kids have linked Iraq and the July 7th bombings in London in the following way:
"We went to Iraq coz they bombed us, innit sir?"
I often ask them why they think it was Iraq who attacked us, and the response is always the same:
"Them lot who bombed us were from Iraq, innit?"
I then go on to explain that the London bombers were not from Iraq. The next question is funnily enough more apt than they often realise:
"Well then why the hell did we invade Iraq sir?"
Good question my young friend, good question indeed.