The Expert Opinion?

A long time ago, when I was coming to the end of the sixth form, I decided I wanted to do a Teaching Degree. I went to seek expert advice, which I received from the Careers Teacher, whose expert advice was, and I quote:

“You? A teacher? (2 minutes of hysterical laughter) You’d be a rubbish teacher (more laughter) Nah, stick to languages…”

Because he was the ‘expert’, I bowed down to his superior knowledge and dutifully went off and studied languages. It wasn’t until after graduation, that I decided to do a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE).

On this course, there was another expert – my tutor

The second expert taught me everything I know about teaching. He motivated me, challenged me and encouraged my, let’s say, ‘inquiring mind’!

He saw me teaching in front of a class and formed his opinion.

I was told that I was ‘a natural’

Two experts, two different opinions.

Had I listened to the first expert, I would never have experienced the second expert and I certainly wouldn’t have experienced all the fabulous things that I did while teaching.

As for my abilities, well, I talk about my teaching time here: Job Done

Make your own mind up.

Why am I taking this nostalgic wander back in time?

Well, because that was the last time, I, without question, took the advice of an ‘expert’.

After that, I realised that expert opinion, like all opinion, was filtered through that expert’s past experiences and personal agendas.

The first expert, the careers teacher, saw me as a troublesome pupil, who wouldn’t accept his answers and was prepared to argue my corner. He saw my teenage behaviour and formed his opinion. Maybe, at the time, he was right, from his perspective, such a pupil would probably not make a great teacher. He didn’t see the coaching I did in my spare time, he didn’t see the serious side.

He just saw the annoying gobshite who wouldn’t let him get on with his lesson.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have a crystal ball.

He couldn’t see into the future.

He had no way of knowing how four years of a degree course and time spent living abroad would change me as a person.

He took none of this into account, he simply made his pronouncement and I, to my shame, simply accepted his opinion.

So when I hear ‘the experts’ say that Corbyn is unelectable, I listen to their opinion, but I take everything they say with a hefty pinch of salt.

When did we stop questioning ‘the experts’? When did we start blindly accepting, without question, what ‘the experts’ tell us?

Are they on TV/writing in our newspapers, because they are ‘experts’?

or are they ‘experts’, because they’re on TV and writing in a newspaper?

I hear them tell me that Corbyn cannot win an election and I immediately ask myself,

Why?

I’m still waiting to hear a concrete reason, a logical, rational reason what makes him so bloody unelectable.

And to be honest, I’m getting slightly annoyed that some people don’t seem to have got around to wondering why?

They seem content to accept the idea, with no justification.

I wonder if we have lost the inquiring/curious minds that we all had as children.

Has society sedated the curiosity out of us?

Has society ‘educated’ the curiosity out of us?

(Don’t get me started on the education system! It’ll be an hour before you get another word in!)

I’ve always thought of the people of Britain as slightly belligerent.

We were told in History lessons of Londoners finding humour and friendship in life,

while sitting in the underground,

meanwhile outside, bombs rained down on their houses.

But now? A nation of sponges?

We listen the naysayers, fear-mongerers and doom-predictors.

Once upon a time, we would have said,

Bugger off, I’ll make my own mind up,

Nowadays, people simply accept and absorb these opinions.

I have noticed a phenomenon, which I call the “Anti-Corbyn Silence”.

This is the 30 seconds or so of silence, which follows the question

“And exactly why is Corbyn unelectable?”

In this time, it finally dawns that they don’t actually know…

This silence is usually followed by an angry, “Well, he’s not a leader!”

If you follow this with, Why is he not a leader? You can go round and round in circles

Because he’s unelectable

Why?

Because he’s not a leader

Why?

Etc. etc.

I’ve seen many versions of this argument in Feeds/Forums across Facebook.

My point is this:

No-one has a crystal ball. No-one can predict the future.

Just because some people THINK you will fail, that doesn’t mean you WILL fail.

You only fail if you don’t try.

 

So, dear ‘Experts’,

I have carefully considered your ‘expert’ opinion, but I’m going to do everything I can to bring about the change I would like to see in Society. I’m willing to work hard for the new vision. I’m going to help shift that Paradigm 🙂

I’ll join a phonebank,

I’ll knock on doors,

I’ll make speeches, bake cakes, attend meetings, start discussions and talk to random strangers.

But, no matter how pointless a task you think this is,

 I won’t give up.

If you turn out to be right, well,

at least I went with my principles and I’ll know I did everything I could.

I’ll be happy with that.

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