Don’t Mourn – OrganisePosted: May 28, 2015
Rachel Jones, @rlj1981, is a teacher and e-learning coordinator. She writes:
When Labour won the election in 1997 I was studying for my A-levels, one of which was Politics. I was opinionated and passionate about what I believed in, and I remember feeling truly elated at the election result. I imagined us at the edge of a new era, with the world taking a more positive shape. Fast forward to the eve of the most recent election as I felt that same sense of optimism. After what felt like banging my head against a brick wall of misguided, and sometimes even absurd political reform, we would again have a chance to get things right.
Well, that goes to show me that I must live in a social media bubble where those I interact with are of a similar political persuasion. I could barely bring myself to talk about the election result for a few days. I was totally shocked, such was the level of naivety. This is my mantra now:
Don’t Mourn – Organise.
Those on the left of politics in the teaching profession have a lot to reflect on. How do we voice our opinions? How do we have them actually heard? What is it we even believe in anyway? Most importantly for me, how can we work towards a fairer society where children have the access to the types of education that will value them as individuals and help them to grow into the types of people that will do good in the world?
No one is as idealistic as to suggest that the social inequality that is endemic to our society is going to disappear. However, what I think many people will agree with, is that all children deserve a decent run at the one thing that can be transformational in the lives of those who are culturally and materially deprived. This one thing is education. Nothing is so powerful. Done right, it can bring hope to children whose daily existence is a grind of low expectations, poverty and lack of opportunities. Done wrong, education can damn an entire generation, demonise and disillusion teachers and create the kind of riffs in society that fuel the politics of fear.
I know what kind of education system I would like to see. One that trusts and listens to the professionals that are on the front line in classrooms. One that places value in curriculum change not solely based on a rose tinted view of the past. One that values children as having value, not just to the economy, but as members of a just society. One that, ultimately doesn’t just see education as a machine to train an elite to pass exams, but provides meaningful and life fulfilling life opportunities to all. I don’t want this education system to be on the never-never. I don’t want us just to spend the next five years angsting over Conservative reforms, I want us to be in a place to do something useful. Ask yourself, where can I do the most good, then do it.