Saturday, June 29, 2013


School Makes Kids Feel Inadequate

Geronimo Jones (Mojo) has low self-esteem and the adults in his lives don't help him feel better about himself. Following a run-in with a school teacher the depressed teen takes part in a high speed  car chase that results in the death of his four companions. 

Mojo is the protagonist inThe Biocide Conspiracy. I didn't have too look far for inspiration when I was developing the character. As a high school teacher I come into contact with too many unhappy kids.

Take Michael (16), he struggles with literacy and doesn’t want to be in school. Today the first day of the new semester, he acted up and played the fool with the result he gained nothing from the lesson . Unfortunately neither did the other 31 members of the class.

20% of teens have self-esteem issues

Like many teenagers Michael suffers from low self esteem as I concluded after taking the time to talk with him at the end of the lesson. Failure at school is undoubtedly one of the contributing factors for the way he feels about himself, but a five minute conversation revealed that he wasn’t getting on with his family and didn’t have any real friends.

Michael is no orphan; approximately 20% of all teenagers have low-self esteem issues. It is easy to say so what? I mean haven’t we all at some time in our lives thought we were ugly, too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall and just not smart enough?

Low self esteem is one of the most harmful issues facing teens

Low self-esteem is not a trivial problem that will, inevitably given time, resolve itself. It affects learning, it can lead to delinquency, eating disorders, self-harm, drugs and suicide.
I don't have the answers. Like many parents I made mistakes bringing up my own children. And I guess some of my students think I'm always on their case. The problem is that we live in a success orientatated culture and teens are bombarded with high expectations in almost every aspect of their lives. But when suicide is the leading cause of death in youths 10-19, as parents and teachers, we have to ask ourselves, have we set the bar at unrealistic and unattainable levels? 

You can read how Mo proved his parents and teachers wrong in The Biocide Conspiracy.

Link for those who read conspiracy thrillers

Ann Massey

No comments:

Post a Comment