I was chatting with Gen Casonato, the wonderful Principal of Parktone Primary School, last week. As I’d done in almost every conversation with countless Teachers and School Leaders last week I asked how everybody was at the school. Were things starting to feel ‘normal’ again?
I laughed when Gen told me that ‘normal’ arrived with her the moment she heard one of two cheeky students outside her office window drop a rather low-level swear word as they ambled by. Ain’t it the little things?!
It got me to thinking, not so much about kids swearing, but about what’s going to be normal again. What should be normal? Perhaps more importantly – what shouldn’t be?
In answering that question, my contention to you is that on this other side of the Covid-19 interruption, the most important thing that we do NOT allow to return to normal is the status of our country’s teachers.
Parents have had just a peek behind the curtain of what it looks and feels like to be a Teacher … and some got rather the fright. While we don’t want our parents in a permanent state of fear, it would be useful to sustain high parental awareness of our professionalism and expertise.
And so, resist the urge to retreat into “secret teacher business” via safe communications with parents. That would be opening the door to us shrinking back into a vulnerable position where those who don’t understand what we do attack us.
We’ve kept far too much of our magic hidden. It’s time for the grand reveal. It’s certainly not the time for parents, or the wider public, to commence the slow, relentless act of forgetting how utterly extraordinary Teachers are.
Speak more loudly and more often to your school’s achievements. Speak to your expertise as educators and leaders of learning. Speak to your skill at building fine citizens for your nation’s tomorrow.
Allocate slabs of your newsletter to it. Reserve segments of your assemblies for it. Create videos, record messages, send texts and app alerts with a distinct intention to expose the genius of the Teachers in your school.
Step up. Speak up. Keep the curtain open enough that everyone can be in awe of the incredible work you do.