I have read many education books and articles and although they might agree or disagree on teaching techniques, use of data, assessment for and of learning, one purpose is at the core of every theory. Education is and always will be about the child.
In North America, the website Edutopia has many posts including,
that place the child or rather student at the heart of their discussion on education.
It really is true, everyday we spend in education is aimed at improving the life of every child in our care. Why do we choose to teach? Hopefully the answer provided by most if not all teachers is because we feel we can make a difference to those in our care.
We are more than a job, we are creating a career where we will always put others before ourselves however we are not always seen in this light by society. We need to shout with one voice that our profession is as important as a Doctor, Solicitor, Politician. We are not in the job for the holidays, we have chosen our profession because #everychildmatters.
Please forgive me when I presume that everyone would agree with the above however very often I’m left frustrated by greater expectations placed on schools on reduced budgets.
How often has the above been true? Working within Welsh Medium Schools, we are used to spending our own money in creating resources for the classroom at our own expense. We are driven by the need to provide every child with a fair opportunity to achieve.
Schools are no longer simply an establishment for Education they are at the centre of a child’s life. In my local context a pupil can begin a School day at 8:00 a.m for breakfast club and return home at 6:00 p.m. when the after school club has closed.
Schools educate students but they are also;
Centres of excellence for well being – looking after and supporting the emotional well being of a child. This impact, in my opinion, is immeasurable. It shouldn’t be a tracking tool, how happy are you? It is a humbling experience to be able to provide a child support during a time of stress, family upheaval or a total disconnect from society, with the opportunity to share their concerns. Many schools provide a counselling service or similar support. These provide pupils with a safe haven to express their concerns.
Centres of excellence for Health – Again in my context, the flu jab takes place at the school. We are responsible for healthy options for example, the food we choose and the impact on our health, the statutory obligation to provide exercise, to teach pupils to swim etc.
Centres of citizenship– to make sure that the child learns the importance of values. I’m a strong supporter of values based Education,
The link to the school above has an excellent appreciation of the importance of teaching values to our pupils.
Our Police designated support officer, is an excellent advocate of helping pupils to consider future choices.
We are responsible for teaching all aspects of well being including awareness of drugs, relationships, safeguarding themselves e.g. e-safety and much more.
Centres of support for families – as a School leaders some of the hardest conversations can occur when you know that parents require support. Initially it can lead to difficulty between the school and the relationship with a parent however the longterm outcomes very often lead to positive results for all the family.
I’m sure that you would have noticed at this point that I haven’t begun to mention any aspects of academic study. Teaching students to learn is the core principal behind everything we do however I would like to argue that that principal does not simply apply to subjects or areas of learning. As Aristotle rightly stated many years ago,
Teachers, I would argue, have the biggest hearts. They are always willing to work for the benefit of their pupils because at the end of the day,
I would like to make a plea to every government across the globe. When cuts in funding are being considered, please remember, we are so much more than a School, we are centres of learning. With greater expectations on schools, politicians need to understand that these can only be achieved through fair funding thus providing an opportunity for every pupil to achieve.
As I have said, education is and always will be about the child.