The Courage To Teach

28 Aug

courage_to_teach_2

Teaching is a tough job. It involves working with people, with their imperfections and unpredictability in a context of constant changes in political priorities.  Decisions we make are rarely about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but about what’s best for our students at a given time, in a complex and fluctuating set of circumstances. School leaders are constantly having to negotiate some of the most complex decisions – around the transition to academy status, ‘choices’ at leadership level which boil down to a choice between improved results or improved finances, choices around retakes, the cost-effectiveness of support teachers – none of this is black-and-white, and decisions involve an intricate negotiation of what we mean by ‘best’ for students and ‘best’ for staff.

We must always remember when we have great new ideas that our students are not some social experiment. The are a gift from God. They are special. Some are broken and some see school as their only safe haven.

In my time in the classroom, I’ve seen dozens of knee-jerk changes and swinging pendulums. Subject becoming optional, then essential. Coursework over exams. Exams over coursework. Completely rewritten exam specifications, importance on standards. Education is often a political football. I have noted sweeping changes that can’t be undone, without consultation with teachers. Who suffers? Our students. Lets remember they are at the centre. What do you think?

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