It can be hard to talk about teaching at the moment.
Speaking to your own experience or observation of our profession and what’s happening to it can be fraught and riddled with paradox.
On one hand, we could still describe it as the most rewarding gig any young adult could choose as a career. Who wouldn’t want to be part of pointing to tomorrow’s generation of Australians on a better life trajectory?
On the other, statistically, fewer people want to teach these days, more are fleeing our profession and a dearth of those who stay behind who choose to lead. Just one of the confronting realities about teaching and school leadership is that it’s never been harder.
This presents us with two further professional challenges:
- The emerging threat of an habitualised turning on each other when we’re too vehement about teaching in Australia being either great or awful … as though these are the only two possibilities.
- That the public notices the tenor of our discourse as much as the content of it.
As such, can I make a couple of suggestions? And these are also suggestions that I’m trying to adjust through and live up to myself:
- Be just a little more kind to colleagues and comrades whose experience of teaching and school leadership is not the same as yours.
- Be determined that the public hears us rationally, expertly and professionally when we highlight the current challenges and paradoxes woven into teaching and school improvement.
Please know this. I don’t position myself to tell you what to think or say. Given my role at Real Schools, I’m more mindful than ever that I’m a teacher by trade, not by practice. As such, I want to deeply respect the voiced viewpoint of every educator who is still doing the important work.
I’m always working on how I speak about schools, but also on how I listen.
I’d just like your voice heard in a way that stands out from the shouty-ness, white noise and general incivility that society seems so stuck in.
Keep fighting that good fight,
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