What follows is a winning year 8 essay from my school. Every student had to write a piece with the heading ‘Community’ and they could choose to focus on any aspect of it. RV won over 200 other students in his year group!
Community is all about the people. If you don’t have a close bond with everyone around you are not in a fun and friendly community.
In this essay I am going to explore what factors contribute to a successful community and compare this against a dysfunctional community. To demonstrate this I will be talking about the communities that I belong to; good and bad. The communities I am going to be talking about are: my karate club Crawley Black Belt Academy, my school and the village of Worth (where I live).
Firstly I am going to talk about the strongest community I am in; Crawley Black Belt Academy. It is the largest karate club in West Sussex and it run by eight sensei’s. The club consists of four hundred and eighteen pupils so is a relatively small community.
The community is defined by how friendly it is, every single one of us is friendly with everyone else. I would go so far to say as we are like family, maybe this is because the club is family run with a husband and wife team at the helm and their son running many of the classes. They are a close knit family and this influences the atmosphere of the club and the behaviour of the other sensei’s. All of them have a positive outlook and limitless energy. They welcome us with smiles and take the time to get to know us and get to know what is happening in our lives. Before you know it they will have thought up a nickname for you and be dishing out plenty of banter. My nickname has recently been changed to Ski’s following my winter holiday.
I can genuinely say that it is impossible to feel sad while in the dojo.
Another reason why we are such a strong community is because we are all very disciplined and respectful. This is because the sensei’s are such strong leaders and have laid out clear rules for us all to follow. We all know the rules (no fighting, no swearing, and no disrespect to the sensei’s) because we are taught them when we join the club in a fun way through games and we also have a student creed that we learn off by heart and say together at the start of every class. The rules are always in place and we know that breaking those rules will end up with having to do doing fifty push ups. This penalty is always given if a rule is broken by every sensei. There is never a situation where a penalty is given out, not one of the sensei’s is a soft touch. As a result of this we are an ordered and safe community.
I believe another reason that Crawley Black Belt Academy is such a strong community is that everyone cares and supports one another. If someone was to make a mistake on a kata they would get help and support. A sensei would ask a more able student to take them off the mats for the next fifteen to twenty minutes. In that time the more able student focuses on passing their knowledge to the person who did not know the kata. As a community we are all focused on learning more and achieving the best we can as well as helping others achieve the best they can. The ultimate goal is to become a black belt master. I am proud to say that I am a black belt second dan master.
Also if someone was to hurt themselves then they would be cared for by the fellow students. When I broke my toe during karate I was helped by one of the sensei’s who took me to the side and helped me calm down and feel relaxed even though one of my bones was broken at the time. In fact I was devastated that I was not able to attend the next class. This demonstrates to me that if a community has a supportive and caring infrastructure, people feel happy, safe and motivated, because they know if something goes wrong there will be someone there to pick up the pieces, in this example a trained first aider.
Now I am going to explore the community of a different location. School displays good and bad points of a community. I am going to focus on a few of these points.
I am going to explore the respect in school for teachers by students. The respect between the teachers and the students is very mixed. The easiest way for me to describe this is to look at the behaviour of a usually well behaved class when they get a supply teacher. From my experience you can often hear yelps of joy when a class finds out they are being taught by a supply teacher and they often behave in ways they wouldn’t usually in class. I have experienced seating plan swaps, people changing their names and throwing stationary around the classroom. I believe this is because we know the supply teacher doesn’t know the school rules clearly enough and will not dish out the correct penalties e.g. detentions. This is true throughout the school, students are not sure what actions will result in discipline and which will not. In fact this does actually differ from class to class. This causes a breakdown in respect by some pupils who will try to push the boundaries as far as they can until they meet with some resistance. This can create some tense and stressful reactions from teachers and an unpleasant learning experience for the rest of the class.
On the other hand the relationship between the students at school is very good and builds a good community as it makes us feel happy and safe. I feel that the structure of mixed mentors is very beneficial and influences the behaviour around school. As we are all used to being around different ages and talking to the different year groups I believe that this influences behaviour around the school particularly in the public areas like the courtyard and the library. Just the other day I was sitting down eating my lunch when a whole gang of year tens sat down around me and introduced themselves, I am now friends with them all. This is a great example of the great sense of community that my school has between its students.
It is disappointing that a small minority of students seem to find pleasure in destroying our modern, fresh school. Great amounts of graffiti can be observed in the toilets and on the desks. I think the reason for this is because the small amount of people that are going through hormonal stages want to let their anger or hatred out anonymously. There can also be bullying through graffiti, like, “tick if you think —- —– is a @#&$”. I have seen this and the tick box was full of over twenty ticks. I found this very disturbing, imagine what the victim would think if he saw it. It seems in many large communities that there is a small minority of people that think this type of behaviour is acceptable.
School has a strong and motivated leader who is well respected by his team of teachers and students. He has strong ideas and believes learning should be fun and his energy spirals through the school which means teachers work hard to motivate us to achieve the best we can achieve. We have so many opportunities from history day and science fair to Animazing and school productions. As a result there is a strong work ethic throughout the school.
I have lived in Worth all my life however I do not feel like part of the community. In my opinion Worth lacks community spirit. Despite being a small pretty and historic village nobody really knows each other even neighbours do not talk to each other. I think the main factor causing this is the lack of communal meeting places. There is no shop in the village and although we have the Worth way there is not a play park. All the houses have a private back garden which means that children do not play in front of their house. Whilst there is Worth church which in theory should provide a central focus for the community it does not because it has turned into a tourist attraction where people from the rest of the town go to get married and have christenings. In reality the church actually works against the community spirit as it brings in much traffic which makes people moan.
Worth may have an MP and may also have a PCSO, however we are not aware of them and they are not strong influences. We do not even have a neighbourhood watch scheme.
To conclude, what I believe from my investigations is what makes a good community is as follows:
Public areas provide a place for people to bond.
Clearly defined rules provide boundaries.
Consistent penalties earn respect.
A strong leader to guide people in the right direction.
Finally, there needs to be room in a community to have fun.