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Monday, 21 October 2013

Fighting Back

I have this last half term, more than ever, felt that the teaching profession and indeed the whole education system have been under attack. Reading posts on Twitter, education blogs and watching and reading the news have filled me with sadness and frustration. It seems to be a constant stream of negativity and bad press. We are bombarded with impossible targets, more observations, bigger work loads and changes to the curriculum. Our pay frozen and our pensions under threat. It is not suprising so many of us have limped into half term.

Like thousands and thousands of my fellow teachers I see teaching as my vocation. As corny as it sounds I truly believe it is what I am meant to do. It is a job I have enjoyed for 15 years, a job I still feel passionate about and up until recently privileged to do. However, I have recently felt like walking away, leaving the profession altogether! The demands and pressures have become disproportionate to the pleasure I have previously gained. I had to put it bluntly lost my mojo. 

Now I say had because if you check out my recent posts you will see I have begun my own one woman fight back! I am determined to regain my mojo fully and retain it! I will not be dragged down anymore. I will not sit back and watch as our pupils suffer from becoming seen as targets to be put into labelled boxes instead of individuals, tested and assessed to within an inch of their lives, the joy sucked out of their classrooms by continual observations. 

How am I going to do this? How can I one single teacher make a difference? Step 1: bring back the joy - reverse that vacuum, go back to doing what I do best, teaching! After all nobody knows our class better than me and my TA. We spend more time with our pupils during the term than our own families. We know what they can do, what they need to do next, how they learn, what they are good at and what they need more help with, what makes them laugh and what worries them. No manner of targets, assessments, 'outstanding' lessons will do more for them than we can. We will ensure that each of them 'attains' and makes 'progress' and we can do it with our eyes shut. We will go back to laughing together, singing, reading for pleasure, painting, creating and having fun because I truly, truly believe this is how they will learn the best. They will progress with the things we measure but more importantly will progress with those we don't. They will become more rounded citizens, be more resilient, caring, have self respect and work as a team......

Step 2: be a teaching Yoda - I will do this by doing my job the way I know works. I will continually evolve, I will reflect on my practice and I will be the experienced, passionate teacher I have always been without apologising or feeling that somehow my experience is something to be ashamed of rather than something to be valued. Albert Einstein once said 
'The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.'

Step 3: I will try to get other teachers to join me in fighting the good fight! We need to go into our classrooms, close the door and go what we do best! Teach!! We need to stick our fingers in our ears and hum quietly every time someone slags us off or tries to drag us down with more and more burdens. Let's be pro active not reactive let's remember why we do what we do. For the pupils not for the statisticians, the politicians, or in fact the parents but for our pupils! 

I hope you will join me and Remember 
Let's be careful out there!!!!