Independence Day?

It’s the 24th of June 2016 and the day I have officially been signed off as a newly qualified teacher.

After ten months of late night planning, weekends of university assignments and the occasional ‘f*** off’ from a hormonal teenager (yes really), along with all the other woes of being a trainee teacher you may think today I am breathing a sigh of relief…but, alas I am instead breathing a sigh of despair.

Why you ask? Because apparently the 24th of June now marks British ‘Independence Day’ as 52% of the public have voted to leave the European Union. It’s hard to say exactly what this means for our future which makes it all the more frightening, but the pound drastically dropping and the prospect of Boris Johnson becoming Priminister suggests we have a long way to go before we ‘make Great Britain great again.’ Indeed it seems the older generation has dragged us ‘millennials’ (not sure how I feel about this term having been born in 1992) into the unknown, plucking the power from Nobel Peace Prize winners and put their faith in Nasty Nigel Farage, a man who bears striking resemblance to the pervy uncle from Bridget Jones’ Diary. Once upon a time he seemed to be a bit of a joke; What happened there?

Of course, people will hide behind austerity measures and trade agreements to justify their decision but we all know where most people’s underlying reason lies: Immigration Immigration Immigration. It’s heartbreaking to admit, but nationalism and dare I say it xenophobia has won the race — cue the ‘not all leave voters are racist’ comments, but if you live in East Lancashire it is very hard to ignore the disturbing attitudes of many constituents. The delusions and resentments of the Baby Boomers have conquered with thanks to the tabloid press fanning the flames and now the rest of us must wait anxiously whilst the saga unfolds. Who knows how long said saga will last but with job losses and inflation predicted, fasten your seatbelts ‘millennials’ it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Oh and you should probably book that European city break sooner rather than later. As for immigration, will UK’s Brexit really make any difference? It is difficult to say at this stage but my heart breaks for those decent hard working people coming to the country in the hope of better opportunities only to be welcomed with hostility. I’d head East if I were you…can I join?

So what’s left for me now as I start my shiny new career in an increasingly grey and gloomy independent UK?

Well, when I am not a new age keyboard warrior I am actually an overly enthusiastic (albeit opinionated) twenty-something newly qualified teacher starting out at a multicultural inner city school in Manchester (a city which might I add in recent years has been totally regenerated thanks to EU grants). Here the majority of students are first or second generation immigrants meaning my burden is heavier than I initially imagined. Of course teaching my desired subject alongside the English language is my job, but my mission and I choose to accept it, is to instil hope not hate in my students, treat them with the kindness, respect and compassion all humans deserve which has sadly somehow been lost along the way. I must persuade them that despite all the rhetoric there is a space and a place for them here. More importantly, I must convince them, along with perhaps 17,410,742 others to open their hearts and not be afraid because actually, we are all the same regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, orientation and shoe size. When hearts are open and hate is gone, Great Britain will be great again and how lucky I am to be in a profession where I can mould young minds for a brighter future.