Reflection for Friday

17 May

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On Easter Sunday morning our priest used the phrase, “resurrection not resuscitation”; my mind wandered.

The past thirty plus years has seen our education system built around an underpinning school effectiveness philosophy.  We want to find out what might make schools more or less effective (perfectly reasonable); identify, often judging on some arbitrary scale, how effective each school is (not at all easy; in fact really, really difficult) and then we decided to assess teacher effectiveness on an annual basis (absolutely bonkers).  Effectiveness became accountability and with it the roots of the current, increasingly flawed, our school system moved towards hitting the buffers.  Beating the accountability system rather than focusing on improving education has become the name of the game for some; it impacts on us all.  Workload, stress and anxiety and job insecurity continue to take their toll.

As a consequence too many teachers and school leaders have decided to build a new life outside of teaching; it is the only place they can find a reasonable home/work balance that gives them time for family, friends and themselves.  They’ve come to the eulogy moment; what will people talk about when I’ve gone?  How many of the five most common regrets will define my life?  It is a staggering loss of human resource, experience and potential when we already have far too little.  For too many of those who have remained, attempting to breathe new life, into a professional existence that is beyond repair, is futile.

It’s time for a paradigm shift; without it schools will become less and less effective as fewer and fewer of the teachers we need, of the calibre required, are prepared to work in out hyper accountable, manic system.  Rather than trying to resuscitate the current system we need a resurrection mentality; our education system needs new life not more of the same.

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