Three things that have restored my faith in education
Slowly but surely, I've been nursing myself back from being utterly disaffected with the education system. Getting to feel that way in the first place was like having a limb ripped off and torn to pieces, and finding various limb-parts and sewing them all back on isn't that easy. However, I find myself today reflecting on some of the things that have really helped to re-light my education fire.
1. Twitter. I'm utterly shocked at myself with this one. In my NQT year, I worked in a school where it was practically a contractual obligation to use Twitter; I was too naive and early in my career to voice opinions that I felt held little weight, and my mind was constantly consumed with the need to plan or mark and so falling down education related Twitter holes was something I had to actively avoid. Since then, I've made active choices to move away from most social media, and then have returned to almost all channels in a business move. Twitter has always seemed to me a hostile place where people are looking for arguments - now I'm not taking that away from Twitter - daily, hourly, almost every refresh, there will be some kind of spat, and I'm not here for that at all, but I am here for the people proudly and openly pouring out their passion for all things education. I'm here for the community. I'm here for the networks. I'm here for the honesty. I'm here for the constant reminders of all that is blooming wonderful about teaching.
In the last two days alone, all of these people have given me little pockets of faith: @commaficionado for championing good teaching methods for students with ASD and providing the training and knowledge we all should have; @thosethatcan for being open, honest, and being able to take the rough with the smooth; @TeacherToolkit for giving me plenty of reading inspo; @MrPranPatel for his drive to decolonise the curriculum, and for sharing it; @Miss_Snuffy for doing what she believes in and succeeding in the face of criticism - there is not a one size fits all for anything, and both the controversy of the 'Michaela Way' and the phenomenal results it has achieved this month prove that this is certainly the case in education.
2. Educational literature - 10% Braver by Vivienne Porritt and Keziah Featherstone is going to make my neck ache from nodding at almost every clause. The Curriculum by Mary Myatt because obvs - anything Mary Myatt says/writes fills me with hope about education. How to Teach English Literature by Jennifer Webb has been a timely reminder of my love of all things planning.
Boys Don't Try? by Matt Pinkett and Mark Roberts in on my coffee table and I've got 3 edu books winging their way to me now from Amazon (Memorable Teaching by Peps McCrea, Why Don't Students Like School? by Daniel T Willingham (literally just dropped through the letterbox!) and Make Key Stage 3 Matter in English by Liz Hillier) and I'm awaiting Just Great Teaching by Ross Morrison McGill.
Never before had I been able to read educational writing for pleasure, but more recently it has been high on my agenda and for good reason - I'm no longer consumed in a little bubble of overwhelm and negativity, and I've been able to absorb what I'm reading, as well as enjoy it.
3. Space and time - being in charge of my own schedule since January has allowed me to spring clean my mind. For the first time in ages, I feel as though I'm running with all cylinders firing and constantly find myself making links between things I read, watch, hear, see, listen to, etc. It's glorious. It means that when I meet up with my teacher friends, I'm excited to talk about planning, marking, and educational theory again (Thanks @miss_sha2806 :) )