Over the past few months, I have thought about philosophies of education more deeply than I have in a long while. This might sound strange, from one who works in the field, but it’s true. I’d hit a point where I was genuinely beginning to wonder whether working in education was still something that I wanted to do. That said, I was feeling that way about many aspects of my life, and I have been fortunate that I have had the time and support to explore my philosophies of life, work, parenting, pet ownership…
Here is what has happened. Slowly, but surely, I’ve reconnected with the drive and enthusiasm that I felt back in the late 1990’s as an NQT. Social media has been a significant driver of this reflection and reappraisal; Twitter, for example, is crammed with people who feel passionately about education, many of them have blogs, and those blogs are a rich source of material for anyone wishing to get at the nitty-gritty of what is going on in schools all over the world. Getting fully immersed in what many of these bloggers have written has been a revelation, personally and professionally. The best part has been that I have managed to get to the heart of my own disenchantment, and with a more general sense of increasing disquiet over the state of education in the UK, other liberal democracies and in parts of the developing world. The worst part has been realising the extent of my own complicity. Time for a change, then.
The debate over education is seemingly gathering momentum; a good thing in and of itself if the errors of the past are to be rectified. And mistakes there have been. Facing up to and taking ownership of these mistakes is a pre-requisite if teachers are serious about improving educational outcomes for this and subsequent generations of British school-children. That’s fairly “high-stakes” as things go. It’s also going to be necessary if the teaching profession is serious about actually being professional, if it wishes to regain its morale (dwindling, apparently), and properly fulfil our remit as public servants.
So, hello world!
(Iorak Byrnisson is a pseudonym. He is a fictional talking bear from Phillip Pullman’s excellent books)