The empathy gap

Filling the pail

Jonathan is baffled.

Jonathan doesn’t teach Freddie but he has spoken with him at length, one-to-one. Jonathan is perhaps a school counsellor or a social worker or a senior manager.

Freddie is troubled. His father visits the home unpredictably. When he does turn up, Freddie’s father is usually drunk and he beats Freddie and his mum. Freddie’s mum is a mess and often can’t get out of bed in the morning, leaving Freddie to organise breakfast for his younger siblings and get them ready for school.

Aisha is Freddie’s English teacher. Jonathan is baffled because twice this term, Aisha has sent Freddie out of class. A third time, Freddie wouldn’t leave and so Aisha called for a senior member of staff to remove him. Doesn’t Aisha understand Freddie’s background, what he’s going through?

Aisha does not understand Freddie as well as Jonathan, no. She has not had the long conversations…

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