It seems as one gets older there is time for reflection. I hope these thoughts make sense.
SHARING AROUND THE WORLD
I am sitting at my table in our house in Darwin (Australia) musing the fact that the way we are able to communicate online, via the web and 24/7 these days is absolutely wonderful. One day I will write a piece on the way communications have been enhanced since the olden days of trunk line phone calls and telegrams which cost an arm and a leg. How the world has changed and how wonderful it is that we as individuals can mix so freely, immediately and from a cost viewpoint, cheaply with each other. This site and others on Linked In provide wonderful sharing opportunities.
THE CONTRIBUTIVE AND ENJOYABLE NATURE OF EDUCATION
A caring and empathetic teacher makes all the difference. I am an old man, asnd remembner but two teachers from my youth – both caring and respectful, full of guidance and understanding. (A rare thing in the olden days). I credit both with helping to guide me to a life of educational service. I enjoyed my career and these days try to stay tuned and contribute in turn to others. Sadly, too many students anf dar too many educators walk away from schooling and education with sour tastes in their mouiths and phyyric memories etched indelibly into their minds.
CHANGE BY STEALTH
So often changes to educational systems ‘sneak up’, with change coming through the back door. We do not know things have altered with priorities shifted, until previous practice has gone by the board. Things are decided without consultation and contribution by those at the coalface. Should it be done like that? Is change by stealth not dishonest?
‘Stealth change’ happens in a micro and macro context. At the smaller level of impact, changes within units and schools occur without the inout (to change) of those with an intimate stake and interest in the outcome. At a macro level, schools wake up to discover there have been changes to expectations leverage3d on them by the administrative support sections of departments. These systemic changes can be in the area of enrolments, curriculum, staffing rations, financial contributions and so on. Often the first schools know is by an email confirming the un-negotiated change. These are NOT good scenarios. Change by stealth should be a no, no!
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY
Of all the professions in this world, education and teaching (the discipline and its management) are the most scrutinised. There is NO other profession attracting so much attention. How key and elemental to the world are both the task and its management.
Principals and leadership teams are constantly under the microscope. Gaze upon us in terms of what they do and action outcomes is constant.
Focus on teachers and support staff members is no less constant. The ‘glare’ of the spotlight us upon each and every one connected to our schooling systems.
ROUND – THE – WORLD LINKAGE
It is great to be part of a communications community sharing thoughts and exchanging ideas on matters of educational issue. We are diverse and different people with individual backgrounds and viewpoints yet are able to communicate and exchange thoughts in a thinking, reflective, considered manner. Dare I say it, but the way we go about discourse and exchange sets a very good example to politicans and others. The other interesting point to consider is that our conversational chain goes round the world.
ADVICE I GAVE TO TEACHERS
Although now retired but still active in educational matters, I share advice given to teachers. Same is shared with trainee teachers when I am involved with lecturing.
It was a case of ‘let the teacher beware’ and avoid the pitfalls.
1. Be malleable and persuadable but true to standards and principles.
2. Debate issues, rather than focussing on personality.
3. Take care with email traffic – written words cannot be rescinded.
4. Take care with speech that its impact is issues focussed not scarifying of personality.
5. Practice empathy but don’t lavish sympathy.
6. Don’t invite others to impart ownership of their monkeys to you; rather, help them with advice about how they might solve their own problems.
CLARITY OF COMMUNICATION
So much – too much – of what education is about is spoken and written in ‘gobbledegook’. The jargon we have is complicated, often meaningless when it comes to definition and hard to understand. Maybe jargon is a means of wrapping our profession in cotton-wool and protecting it and us from the public because they don’t understand. While the cotton wool to cocoon and cosset may be an aim, what it tends to do is make ‘us’ rather woolly. We need to be understood. From understanding comes appreciation.