For those who frequent the TA boards here, you'll know that I've been planning on joining the Terries recently. Unfortunately a rugby injury has put paid to that for at least six months, however the issue of me joining did raise some interesting issues at my sixth form. Firstly, and probably most obviously, we have the students. When I announced I was going to join (I didn't stand on a table and bellow, word just spread), I had two forms of response. The first was a heartwarming 'good on you' from most of my friends, and it has to be said, the vast majority were male. And then secondly, I had scathing abuse and attacks, mainly by girls. These included such things as "Oh so you're going to be a soldier. Have fun dying" and "You're going to go and murder little Iraqi children?" (I didn't bother pointing out the inaccuracy of the geography of this, it was too much effort). These comments are ongoing, and I think expose something about my generation, especially the women. I'm not saying that all 16/17 year old girls are squaddie-hating cows, but the trend seems to prevail around where I am. It's also driving girls away from me who may have been interested in me beforehand. This is ever so irksome. Secondly, and probably more concerning, were the teachers. As far as I'm aware, teachers are meant to nurture and educate you, bring out the best etc. It seems that's not the case if you want to be a squaddie. When it became known amongst the teachers that I was to join the ranks of Her Majesty's finest, I noticed a marked change in the attitude of teachers towards me. It's not like I'm a bad student, I'm predicted good AS and A2 grades, and am pretty certain I'll be heading off to Uni afterwards, and on to RMAS. I behave, I get work in on time, and generally get good grades in my reports. However, teachers now seem to have less time for me, and what help I do get is curt and dismissive. It's almost as if they have 'given up on me'. And this wasn't going on before I said I'd be joining. The worst is my flaming feminist socialist Politics teacher who holds the belief that all soldiers do is drink, fight and generally take up taxpayer's money that could go to poor economic migrants or be plowed into another QUANGO, but then again you get them everywhere. It's a sorry state of affairs, because my experience has been noted by others, and now the two or three other prospective soldiers in my college are keeping it under their hats, lest they suffer the same fate as I. Kinda makes me sad that people can no longer be proud to wish to be a soldier. Rant over P.S. A point to note would be that not a single teacher contributed to my charity head-shaving for Help for Heroes, and indeed some have leveled snarky remarks along the lines of "you look like a real soldier now" at me.