We all have an opinion, and, if we are totally honest, teachers are more opinionated than most. I have always been one of those people who haven’t much cared for educational reading, politics and listening to the opinions of others as I just wanted to get on in the classroom and do my bit by teaching the students to the best of my abilities. I always thought that those teachers who spent time reading research and contributing to stuff like that had too much time on their hands and should be teaching not reading about it! That was until I joined my current school, where I truly learned the value of education and that you never stop learning no matter how old you are. I want to use this first blog to explain why I’m putting together this website (that I hope will get better in time) so if it seems like I’m rambling (as I often do) please stick with me, I am going somewhere – honest!
I want to share thoughts on education and hear the voice of others as well as addressing key issues that are pertinent to our young people (and the rest of us) in society today. Perhaps these pages can be a conduit for discussion and expression with fellow colleagues, professionals, bloggers and surfers from every walk of life. Ideas matter, and, as Bob Hoskins said (in the TV ad for a telephone company who shall remain nameless) “It’s good to talk!” so please share what’s on your mind and let’s see where it takes us.
Why did I decide to embark on this electronic journey of sharing my ideas with a wider audience when I’d always considered myself a doer rather than a talker?
I learned a lot of great lessons from the first school I worked at, it was the school I attended as a child and I was extremely fortunate to have some truly inspirational teachers, which is why I myself went into this noblest of professions. However, the standard of my education was typical of a 90s progressive system; style over substance – great teaching but not a great deal of emphasis on the grammar of the subjects studied. As a consequence of this, I had a passion for a number of disciplines but was completely feckless as to the limitations of my knowledge. As a teacher, I progressed quickly, leading a continually improving and forward thinking department by my mid-twenties, which thrived amongst all odds in its working-class deprived setting. I moved to my current school in the desire for promotion and to make a difference on a larger scale; I had realised the limitations of my influence at my previous school and knew that if I wanted to continue to make a difference then I would need a change of scenery. That change of scenery came in the form of a highly academic, well-respected establishment in a very middle-class suburb, a complete contrast to my previous experience!
I have learned a lot of (tough) valuable lessons in the move to my current school whose progressive ethos is in complete juxtaposition to its traditional setting. Primarily though, the leaders of the school have given me the opportunity to think differently and believe that education is about more than satisfying a government target or political whim. They have given me the confidence to think for myself (something that is beaten out of creative teachers in a lot of schools) and to question the status quo. I myself have become a better leader, I have learned to lead by collaboration and creativity not by fear, targets and systems. This is why I want to pass it on, to stoke the fire of revolution that is in the heart of every teacher, reassuring those of us who believe that doing the best by our children is not just about winning at the exam game but by building good character, global citizens and so much more.
And so, my friend, our journey begins….