Caroline’s Journey: Week 4

Mad Hatter Strikes.

Multi-tasking is a great ability to have. Slice of toast with jam in one hand, mug of scald (tea) balanced on the arm rest of the chair. Two stacks of completed paperwork next to the chair, important pile and very important pile ready to be filed. I am cooking off my Christmas pudding (totally organised this year…very unusual for me), one eye on the oven, the other cold staring the growing stack of dishes in the sink…Community Leadership course is about to start.

I have almost completed the weeks reading. Yes, there is STUFF to do for this course; readings, the odd Youtube clip to watch, reflective piece to write. It is one of the best bits of the course because you have time and space to read, to reflect on the content before class starts.

This week it is all about Gender and Social Change, a topic that I find fascinating. The course starts, I am eating and watching and reading and trying not to spill tea, as well as supervise the progress of the pudding. Then the discussion begins and everyone contributes. There is such a thing as a break-away room, a virtual room where you and your fellow learners go to debate the topics of the class.

This is not a session where you can multitask; this is a session, akin to the rest, where you need to concentrate. We are discussing gender, equality, feminism, discrimination; Thomas puts up a number of info graphs from his PowerPoint, stats on women in the workplace, women in positions of authority, the percentage of women who have access to education, to food, to shelter, to clean water. The debate begins to heat up and people try to put their points across. I am sure of my argument, I put it forward, someone counters, a valid point, I waver, now I am not 100% convinced. Someone else adds to the debate and so it begins, around and around the discussion on the grey areas, the role of gender and its potential for social change.

As the class progressed I became cross, frown filled, indignant at injustice, angry at the structures of certain societies, of the role I and others play. At the end of the class I was laden with new information, with new perspectives, with grey areas in my own argument and uncertainty as to the validity of some of my convictions. At the end of class I was mad.

Mad for change.  And as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland says, all the best people are.

And I spilled my tea from the arm rest as I wildly gestured at the computer screen for the duration of the class. Who would have thought school could be so interesting. (Top Tip…don’t keep important paperwork next to chair when there is potential for spillage!)

Caroline Healy

December 22, 2016