At these times of unrest in education in the UK, I have often pondered what I am doing – and debated if I am a little mad. This week I realised, amongst very public resignations of headteachers, I DO know what I am doing!
Two headteachers have resigned this week. The reasons both have listed amount to being unable to remain in a system that they do not believe in (for original articles see http://bit.ly/1NkpmEz, http://bit.ly/1SXvwqJ). This situation was predicted two months ago by another headteacher who resigned for similar reasons (http://bit.ly/1S8wSm2). I understand that these headteachers are taking action as they see fit, but as I see it the children need them now more than ever!
And that’s why I’m going into teaching.
I never wanted to go into teaching for the money, or the holidays or any of the trite reasons that are often quoted when I tell people that I am now training to be a teacher. I always wanted to go into teaching to help others. I want to contribute to the education and development of these little people. I truly, honestly believe that they are worth more than to prove a schools worth – a statistic. They are little people who, as a teacher, I can help grow.
Yes, I will teach them to read.
Yes, I will teach them to count, but…
I will also teach them to respect others…
… to make music (even if it means I have to run lunchtime/after school clubs)
… and even appreciate art, even though I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.
And I will do this, in spite, rather than because of the National Curriculum. I am a firm believer that primary education is not only about the core curriculum, it is about developing the whole person. And I’m in good company:
Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:
promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
DfE, 2014: The National Curriculum in England, pg 5
The plans to make all schools academies may eventually negate the national curriculum entirely, but in the meantime, it stands. And this is the ethos I believe in; developing the whole child.
I know I may seem idealistic, I may be wearing rose coloured glasses but is this not what our children need? They need the teachers who are willing to fight for the education of the whole child. And they do still exist – I’ve met some of them. They are willing to fight for their pupils: to ensure ‘their’ children are given every opportunity where ever they live. To develop themselves to enable them to deliver engaging lessons. Who put together cross-curricular lessons, often on a Sunday, so that the children do not miss out on the fun of childhood; ideas like developing comprehension by using art, or teaching geography using Minecraft…
These are the teachers who inspire me to go into teaching. I want to make a difference and I believe, now more than ever, the children need passionate, sometimes idealistic teachers who will do everything in their power to make that difference!