I’ve made many errors in my life – climbing on a chair and falling smack on my groin, going too fast down a hill on a bike and scraping up my arms, listening to Taylor Swift etc. 

But for me, one of the greatest and most ridiculous mistakes I ever made was going down the route of education. i.e., becoming a teacher. A mistake for many a reason though two remain at the forefront of my regrets. The first, children can be horribly cruel. The second, the system is made to fail them.

As a socialist, I believe in certain things that are unquestionably right – the right to self-determination being one of them. One’s own value should come from what you as an individual enjoy. You should work on what you love, and work doing what you love. Your motivations should be built around what you think will give you enjoyment. 

Education has robbed children of that choice. 

Despite its outward appearance it’s a fixed route, classroom desk to office desk. You want to know how I know this? Because it was what I was taught to teach. The exact wording escapes me, but the actual intent of education is, as instructed by the government, to create ‘enterprising’ individuals. 

This word struck me. Enterprising. It sounds as though we’re trying to sow the seeds of ambition in the next generation. But what exactly is their ambition? This I started to wonder, and then in looking back I couldn’t help but see my entire education as the farce it was. 

Nothing is truly learned, nothing except the rudimentary skills a worker-drone would need to sit at a desk or a warehouse or a phone line. Just enough is taught through the various subjects to provide the abilities to further the capitalist market. Ingenuity: taught not for the sake of invention, but wealth. History: taught not for the sake of learning our past mistakes, but learning the market’s past failures. English: taught not so one could enjoy the beautiful prose of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but so we know how to correctly spell product names into our online orders. 

It’s funny, so many of the educators I spoke to seem to think they were some young left-wing idealists set out to free the Gen Alphas from the unrighteous tyranny of capitalism. Yet in not one of them did I detect the rage for creating dissent.  

Children are taught to be compliant, to put their hand up to ask a question and only seek answers when it applies to immediate knowledge. I never once saw a child ask a teacher “How does learning this help me in the long run?”. Because it doesn’t. We are failing the next generation, because, even though we are more connected than ever, we’ve never been so complacent. 

I am guilty of this myself. I came into socialism later in my life than I should, asked the right questions far too late and never had the interest to be inquisitive on any topics that actually had an effect on my day-to-day life. Do tomorrow’s children even see how tight the noose is around their necks?

They were born in the two-thousands yet also simultaneously in 1984. Teachers do not teach, they repeat. There is no true learning in schools. There is no socialism. Though this is where it should be most of all. 

Socialism is an idea many of us support; I know this as so many people love the idea of free healthcare, free public transport, equal pay and education, which gives control of learning to the learner and not a stuffy room full of old men in suits whom we’d call ‘governors’. 

For me, socialism must start in education – it must start there because we can’t break away from our current system if nobody is taught the true scale of its injustice. Socialism is a system which not only balances the wage scales, cleans the environment, protects natural resources and promotes equality. 

Socialism is knowing how and why this needs to happen and why it needs to happen now. When socialism is achieved, it is achieved because the majority of us – the people – stand together. Who are the people without the children of tomorrow but walking ghosts haunting Gaia’s corpse? 

Reforming education must happen, we must give impetus to the educator and the educated – as it’s been noted by Paulo Freire that the ignorance of the working class allows those pulling the chains of capitalism an easement to protect the system that creates their wealth. 

Education is the future of socialism, and socialism should be at the root of education. 

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