Sitting and writing this with bleary eyes from Northern Rocks fatigue and smearings of icing and cake across my jeans following my daughter’s birthday party has maybe made me a little more emotional than usual. Reading this brought a lump to my throat but in true Northern style I swallowed it down because the show must always go on!
If I could choose one blog to summarise what I wanted Northern Rocks to be, how I wanted people to feel then I choose this. Jonny’s articulation of northern pride made me smile so much that I’ve already forgiven him for not knowing that Hull is the Capital of Culture 2017.
“We ought to speak up for our profession, and if anyone outside of teaching was to see us today, I cannot help but think they would be mesmerised. We are right to bemoan our lack of time and money, but the fact we give up our Saturday for a paid event to celebrate pedagogy speaks more of our passion than it does of our inability to appreciate irony!”
The title of this blog jumped out of my timeline and demanded I read it because it is something that I have been saying for years. It draws on evidence from the recent Education Act and links to news articles to make the point that parent choice is not increasing but diminishing.
“In both cases, the choices of parents were only considered to be valid where they supported government policy. What is far worse is that those who have concerns about any such ‘reforms’ in their own school or area are considered to be actively ‘standing in the way of what is best for children’, even if they are their own…And parents with concerns about declining finances at their children’s school will be labelled ‘idealogues’ if they object to the multi-million pound new build just down the road. Perhaps the new bill should be introduced as ‘empowering supporters’…”
I acknowledge that I am in danger of repeating myself but how could I resist this when I recognised so much of what has been written. Yes, I too have been subjected to this essential advice for female teachers. “I can’t remember how many times I heard that a deeper voice, the human equivalent to the humble double bass, a dulcet baritone in fact, would instantly mean that children of all genders would respond to the transmission of my instructions quicker than you can say Pavarotti. In any case, I became hyper-conscious that my authority rested on the concealing of an inherently female characteristic – the higher pitch of my voice.”
Following the news in the previous week where female scientists were derided by Sir Tim Hunt for “crying” and “falling in love”, this blog is perfectly timed. What angers me is that we still have to put up with this nonsense. Read this, get angry then get involved with #womened and fight back.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I agree with nearly everything HeyMissSmith says. What did come as a surprise is that fact that I have not recommended her blogs before. Her style of writing is to be envied and there is one particular satirical blog that I still reread because it makes me laugh so much.
Her recent blog was written in reaction to the idea that teachers should have the content written for them by the “experts”; that they should just deliver it. Now I realise there are some reading this that think that’s a jolly good idea and those, like me, who think if you don’t know the children in front of you and what they need how can you dictate how and what to teach?
Once a teacher is no longer in complete control of the content she is delivering, that fluidity is damaged. Although the idea of a well-designed, well-paced, detailed road map is appealing, teaching is not a straight road. Learning can not be mapped in a linear way, and each and every child’s journey is different. The skill of a teacher is keeping everyone hooked whilst they travel on their own paths.”