ink for thought: teaching by numbers

Saturday, 28 March 2009

teaching by numbers

so I work with children...

some would argue that it's a step up from the world of knuckle dragging , mono browed avarice but you'd be surprised. don't get me wrong, there's a sense of 'giving back' that pushing paper and counting coins didn't provide but school, education, learning....this is big business.

I don't suppose many people realise that education in several London boroughs is contracted out to firms with very little experience in actual teaching, much less interfacing with younglings. Take, for example, the considerable corporate mass that is the fleet constructing, army training, waste recycling, nuclear decommissioning (the list goes on) Group that presently holds the contract for delivering education to young people in Waltham Forest.

Maybe there's a lot I don't understand and undoubtedly there are huge swathes of information that I do not have privy to but I remain unconvinced that these well meaning business people are best suited to do this job.

Spending each day in classroom I am constantly growing a new and deeper appreciation of what it means to succeed. I say this because no one ventures into business without carefully considering what they would find a successful result. but, and this is where it gets interesting, what counts as success for the average nuclear decommissioning company probably differs greatly to what any one of my teacher colleagues would recognise by the same name, not to mention the children.

you see, money is not and cannot be our bottom line. as my father would say 'teaching is a noble vocation'. of course he what he means by that is that one would have to be incredibly self-sacrificing (or at the very least, nuttier than squirrel shit in a peanut factory) to try it. he was a teacher for 20 years before making this declaration...and he's not very self sacrificing, but that's another rant altogether. I guess the point I'm trying to make is this, the bottom line is the children. yes, schools don't run of smilie faces and polite nods, but when we start seeing little pound signs running around playgrounds and stop seeing individuals with often more hardships than hopes, more disappointments than dreams and more afflictions than aspirations then that's when we ought to step out of teaching and perhaps, maybe...consider banking.


M.J. said...

Teachers are so important to society, yet are often undervalued. I am happy to see that more men are becoming teachers these days. (My boyfriend also recently went into teaching.) I hope you stick with it!

Sebastian said...

My mother was a teacher for 20 years, and no doubt is one of the main reasons I turned out so well educated and inquisitive. It was always so irritating at the time, when she would constantly point things out and tell me what they were.

But, looking back... I have a lot to thank her for. In fact, she still points out things when we go driving together. I guess some people never stop teaching.

I taught for a couple of years at school -- younger kids -- and I've thought about going back into it recently. My old school has a new headmaster -- one I'm good friends with -- and I think, if I went back to teach, I could make a difference.

On the other hand, I could continue to travel, and learn, and distill wisdom, and perhaps be an even greater teacher in a few years?