2 min read

Seriously? This is the conversation?

This image annoys me. To me it shows a real deficit thinking model that exists in our teaching profession. And it falls into the trap of accepting the common perception of what's actually important in education.

I get the aim of the exercise.

Let's talk to the ones doing the teaching, and find out what they think is the most important thing they need.

Which is fine.

But asking teachers to tell us what they need is only going to tell us what they believe they need as individuals. We can tally up all those responses and make statistically sounding conclusions, but it's still basically what a bunch teachers want.

Is that where we want to start the conversation?

What is it that teachers need to change to make a difference?
What is it in education that needs to change to make a difference?
What is it in our society that needs to be different for education to make an impact?

I mean, let's be honest, you could replace the word 'Teachers' with 'Doctors', 'Nurses', 'Supermarket shelf stackers', or any number of professions, and the responses would be pretty similar.

The graphic just shows us what those who work desire to see, so they can have a useful, effective working environment.

The question: "Time for teachers to collaborate" is utter nonsense.

It's not as if we can add any more hours to the day.
It's not as if we can't collaborate.
We don't collaborate for lack of time do we?

The things that are important to us as individuals will expand to fill the time we have as individuals.

But we don't work as individuals, we work in school systems, that are localised and nationalised systems. All of those systems have things that are important to those systems. Being part of the system means having to do those important things. At the various layers, those systems will impact upon you as individual. We all have to deal with that reality, but it doesn't mean we can't collaborate.

If collaboration is important to you - then collaborate. With fellow teachers, with your principal, with other schools, with parents, students. Do it offline. Do it online. But don't waste time by saying we need more time to collaborate. That's just pointless.

The issues highlighted here are profession-related issues that reflect what teachers think is important. But as I said, these issues could be arguably be said to be the same for any profession. And to present these issues as the things that will make a difference is in my opinion self-indulgent and self-serving.

And it's not really the conversation we should be having about teaching and education surely.

What are really the issues that matter in education?

Why aren't we arguing about the point and purpose of education? For our students, our community, our nation, our society?

Why aren't we having honest debates about the purpose and function of assessment as a default feature in our education systems?

Why aren't we calling time-out on every new shiny "learning revolution" that's promoted by salesfolk, who are just trying to shift products, ?

But hey, go with the "Higher salaries" stat if you think it needs to be front and centre in the conversation for changing our jobs as educators.

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