Epic rant

I’m sorry but I feel another epic rant coming on. I’ve heard yet another story that made my blood boil. A principal in a school announcing to the staff that education has changed in the last 5 years and if they didn’t like it then perhaps it was time to move on.

This happened because some older, wiser teachers had been brave enough to stand up and question the system. Might I say that I would put my children in these teachers’ classes in a heartbeat. They have so much knowledge and experience and they are really good teachers. How dare they be told that they should consider moving on because they challenge the system. Yes education has changed and change is not necessarily a bad thing. Goodness knows teachers are used to change! However we must question a system when we have a growing number of teachers and children suffering from stress and anxiety.

We must challenge a system that has year 2 teachers preparing 7 year olds to write a 5 paragraph persuasive text for next year’s NAPLAN. When we have a C2C geography unit which asks these same 7 year olds to mark continents, oceans and lines of latitude on a world map, when many of them have never even ventured outside their own town or city and are not ready to comprehend these concepts. When we have a year 4 poetry unit where children must analyse poems and find examples of spoonerisms and neologisms. We must question a system in which much of the curriculum is age inappropriate. And these are just a few examples of the many ridiculous things we are asking our children to do in the current crowded curriculum.

My initial post has been shared over 40 000 times and the support I have received from teachers and parents alike, has been nothing short of amazing. The only thing that came close to criticism was that it was said that I should have stayed in the system and spoken up. I promise you I did speak up. Those who listened were teachers who agreed and the others simply didn’t care.

I broke down in tears at a data meeting with my admin when I was asked how I could improve the students’ scores. They were tears of frustration because I knew how to improve those scores. I was a damned good teacher whose hands were tied by a prescriptive curriculum which didn’t allow me the freedom I needed to engage my students in a creative inspiring way that captured their interests. When I was told by someone that I couldn’t leave because they needed teachers like me, my answer was simple “the system has made it impossible to stay.” I simply couldn’t continue to teach like this. It would be very convenient, both for me and the powers that be, if I just walked away and shut up. And some days I feel like I want to. Sometimes it seems too hard a fight but if I give up then they win and another teacher will be silenced. 

Kathy Margolis

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