Collaboration: Collaboration is working with each other to do a task. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realise shared goals, this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective.
So, yesterday was another day. And another debate that has divided Twitter into two camps….those who teach, and those who don’t.
Regularly teachers are criticised, condemned and blamed for everything from too much sex education to giving children chocolate. We are admonished for having too many holidays, too much time off and yes…of course we finish work at three fifteen every day!
Yesterday’s debate started with talk about taking holidays during term time. This is an argument for which I can see both sides. As a teacher it’s a sodding pain in the arse when one or two of your class aren’t there for a fortnight. They miss whole concepts. They miss precious bonding time. They miss routine, being part of a school community and so much more. However, I can also see it from the viewpoint of a parent, why should we have to pay extortionate amounts to take a holiday? Why should we be dictated to and only be allowed to go away at certain times of the year or risk a fine?
But what has got to me today, is that even though it is NOT teachers who have made up this ridiculous law, it is teachers who are being blamed and condemned for it. Being a teacher is endlessly frustrating and for every parent who thanks you for being an inspiration to their child there are a million others quick to criticise. We are criticised for working children too hard, for not working them hard enough, for being too firm, for being too lenient. It is a very very difficult job to meet the individual needs of 30 children, but it’s a hell of a lot harder meeting the needs of their parents.
And I know, I KNOW, that YOU are their parents and I can hear you screaming at me through my computer. But so many parents don’t trust us to do what is right for their children, they don’t listen. The media and Gove don’t bloody help either, but I can assure you that all we are ever trying to do is what is best for your child, each and every single one of them, every single day. I am very aware as a teacher that children get one shot at school and they deserve their shot to be the very best. Sadly though too many people don’t respect teachers, which in turn results in children not respecting teachers. If the parent doesn’t support the school, then naturally it feeds down.
Anyway, I digress. The debate was about holidays during term time. In my own personal opinion I think family holidays are so important. Time when you can be a family with no pressure of work, commitments or school. To explore other countries, learn new languages and immerse yourself in new cultures. And I would argue that travel firms, who I know are businesses and will therefore function like one, create divides by upping their prices dramatically during the holidays which sadly out prices holidays for many people. I should know, I don’t get a choice and can only go away in the school holidays! I think there are certain times in the year when a holiday in term time could, maybe be ok, at the end of term for example and I DON’t agree with schools fining parents if they take their children out unauthorised during term time or the new law one bit. And what frustrates me more than anything is that everyone blames schools when it’s the sodding government who are responsible for the half the shit we have to do anyway. It is not schools who are banning packed lunches, it is not schools who are banning holidays!! It is the government who are proposing all of these things.
I’m not saying that education is perfect at the moment, far far from it, (that’s another post!) but every single teacher I know could not be more passionate about their profession. Could not be more motivated and enthusiastic to provide children with the best possible education they can. Most teachers at my school get there at half past seven in the morning and have to be thrown out of the building by the caretaker at six o’clock, then only to take masses of work home and sit and do it all evening. And before someone comments that there are some rubbish teachers in the world then yes, you’re right, there are, we can’t all be perfect, but thankfully they are in the minority. Many, many teachers are parents themselves and do for every single child in their class what they would expect a teacher to do for their children. I have become so attached to the children I’ve taught in the past that at the end of the year I have been in tears at the thought of not teaching them everyday the following year.
I just wish for once that parents and schools could work as teams, we’ve all got children’s best interests at heart after all. The whole holiday in term time debate is just another angle for which teachers can be criticised from. It’s such a shame. If we all had a report card about collaboration I imagine it would say…..could do better.
I have also written a post about Gove’s proposed longer school days and shorter holidays which you can read here.