I agree to a point, with Ken Robinson, but I don’t think it’s schools that kill creativity per se. I think it’s the idea that the prime directive of education is as a route to employment that does that. I think that’s really the point Robinson makes. I’m getting tired of beating the ‘Art is so important to humanity and education’ drum. Though it feels as if more people are listening these days which does give me hope.
We really should be focused on delivering a broad and challenging curriculum readying our students to go out into the world as articulate, cultured, reflective and confident people. Ready to take on the challenges we cannot foresee, in ways we will never have dreamed of. Hopefully in ways that bring us together rather than the current fragmentation and hostility that pervades. I can see there are some excellent SLT teams who are confident enough to ensure they go above and beyond the prescriptive and accountability driven approach confined and nurtured by the current and previous governments. Thank goodness for them, the students they serve are lucky.
But it shouldn’t be down to luck, it should be that wherever you live you go to a good school with a diverse cohort that has the resources and staff to teach all well and with equity in a way that encourages and nurtures all.
Easier said than done, yes, but we are crying out for change. The education system and the staff in it are at breaking point. We all need more fairness, equity, respect and openness in our schools and the system overall. I am fed up. I’ve been a teacher, a passionate and driven teacher, for many many years now. Last year was personally hellish thanks to very poor management practices. Thankfully things have improved, but they could still be better, and I think many staff I know in many schools are all feeling despondent and let down after all our efforts and hard work result in a funding formula that will further reduce our ability to do our jobs.
I do not produce a product, I teach children, they are not a commodity, a consumer or a client. They are a child, and they, and their parents, trust in us to provide them with a good, rounded, challenging and engaging education. Are we able to do that in the current circumstances? Basically no.
That makes me so sad and frustrated. I do my best but the system that forces students into an exam machine to the detriment of their mental health is not the one I bought into when I trained to be a teacher. I don’t believe education should be easy by any means but does learning by rote to pass exams really provide our students with the skills for the life they need to live after they leave education?