You’ve all heard this one right:
Every cloud has a silver lining!
The quote of optimism? The quote of the deluded? Or the quote of the visionary?
This week sees the staff at my school battle with the concept of Gove’s academies. I’m not even sure what I mean by the concept of
battle! I haven’t yet worked out whether I want to go into the consultation meeting all guns blazing or whether I want to support the SMT as they develop a new educational environment! I’ve spent all weekend sitting reading through union literature and school based literature. I’ve reviewed it with my militant hat on. I’ve read things with a set of rose tinted glasses on. I’ve even got the scales out to work out what to do. To be honest I am none the wiser!
The arguments presented are convincing. Well no that’s not true. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We gain some money by not having to buy in the LA services but then this isn’t a guaranteed level of funding. There is that dark cloud on the horizon which is the staff pay and conditions post-management review after becoming an academy. So we don’t become an academy and we remain with the LA. But then if the LA funding is being top sliced and then there is further reduction in LA funding to the extent that it is merely a shell of its former self then why would we stay with the LA.
And there we have it. Our cloud. A cloud of damnation! So try and spot the silver lining if you can! Can you? It took me a while!
Silver Lining 1 – The Big Picture
I can’t remember the last time I really sat back and thought about education. The day to day becomes so pressing that you loose the big picture. Little Johnny’s marks and feedback is vital but so is getting that overview. Stepping back to see the full picture and then to have a chance to form a balanced opinion. Not an opinion formed by looking at 2 sites but a chance to go through a whole range of literature and getting a sense of the inflammatory nature of some of the blogs/union lit. vs the clear concise thinking of some articles. I spent nearly 4 hours reading through lit. What a wonderful afternoon of learning it was simply through having the chance, space and time to think. (For more info on this read: http://rbnpepper.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/schools-kill-creativity/ @rbnpapper)
Silver Linking 2 – Ideological Dreaming
I was ideological for 4 hours. Reading the literature brought back a lot of ideas which used to be present constantly during the teacher training. Teaching does not exist in a vacuum. Teachers are not neutral. Teachers are involved in and contribute to the the politically charged environment in which the school exists, either at a local, national or global level. All of a sudden I found that books were coming off the shelf not to help me plan lessons but to develop me as a teacher – suddenly ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ (Frerie) was off the shelf. I was starting to discuss the aims of education. The link between the teacher and the state. Am I just Gove’s mouth piece in the classroom or am I a student liberator?
I want to dream of being a student liberator but I have a horrible fear that my dreams are of day-to-day admin…
I will be walking into the staff meeting tomorrow with fresh eyes. My criticism/comments/support will not be based around my concerns of the day to day running of the school alone but in the ideological opportunities that could arise out of this next stage in my school’s history. It is going to be a difficult step for people to take but it will be an interesting one and one which I hope get’s us talking more and more as a staff about the ideological stances we have and the direction we want for our school.
Do you see the cloud or the lining?
What are your views on academies? Do you think there can be a silver lining? How do you approach problems? Do you give yourself time to be ideological? Do you dream of admin or ideologies?