Teachers, I see you

Teachers, I see you.
I know you chose to teach because you love children and that you take your professional responsibility very seriously. I’m sorry that in recent years your role has been reduced to bureaucratic hoop jumping that makes you feel like your competence and integrity are in question – I trust your professional judgment.

Teachers, I see you.
I know that you are required to perpetually send copious amounts of assessment data and accountability reports to Education Department officials and that while you see my child is becoming negative, stressed and withdrawn, you don’t have anything left of yourself to find out why – I believe that you want to help re-engage my child. (I also wonder what possible reason the government really “needs” all that data?)

Teachers, I see you.
I know you know that all children learn best through play and the fact they can’t sit still to “focus” on the mandated curriculum is because developmentally their need is to move, climb, run, play and investigate. Instead, despite this being backed by decades of research, political policy makers insist that you must explicitly meet literacy and numeracy targets within a set time frame. I know that you hate that you have to push a child who simply isn’t ready, because your job would be on the line if you support that child at their own pace.

Teachers, I see you.
I know your Employee Code of Conduct prevents you from questioning what you know to be morally and ethically against the core values of authentic teaching and learning. I see you putting on a brave face for children and parents.

Teachers, I see you.
I know that good Teachers feel they are failing in their professional responsibility, because a good Teacher has a heart – they are there to nurture and support the whole child: emotionally, socially, physically AND cognitively, working with each child at their level of development to help them grow. I know your hands are tied by a system that values cognitive work above all other intelligences, because it is more easily measurable by policy makers.

Teachers, I see you.
I know that you can’t speak up on behalf of children, although I know you want to. So as a parent, I will do it on your behalf.

Politicians, I see you.
I know you feel the need to be globally competitive and test scores seem to be the obvious measure. I want you to know that I think you have forgotten that we are talking about CHILDREN.

I think that your advisors don’t seem to be in touch with current research in child development and wellbeing. The mental health of our children matters. You say we want to raise a generation of innovators and creative, critical thinkers but you are STANDARDISING and testing everything to the point that kids are afraid to question, they don’t know how to play without adult direction and their creativity and confidence is eroded and their social and emotional competence is severely lacking because they are STRESSED OUT.

Children deserve a childhood. Children (of all ages) NEED to play without rigid rules that prevent them from taking healthy risks, children NEED the arts, children NEED to move a lot. These things are just as important as numeracy and literacy, but we are treating them as inferior – they are not. Our children are burning out. Teachers are burning out. Parents are picking up the pieces. Our children are being hurt. The pressure is too much.

And for what? Your ego?

Amy Cox

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