As two teachers with three children in the education system, we live and breathe education.
At the moment, it could be argued that the true essence of the love of learning and the purpose of education has been lost in government policy. We constantly hear from the government how standards in this country are not good enough. The children are not making enough progress, the schools are not good enough, teachers are failing. How do we know this? These statements are based on national tests which are objective and universal and of course OFSTED. There is little recognition or publicity of teachers and schools attempting to inspire a love of learning or encouraging the development of the whole child and family. A child that becomes a caring, compassionate and moral adult. A family that heralds the hard work of the teachers and the school. A feeling that education is far more than statistics and judgments; it is what helps makes people live and respond the most credulous ways.
We have both been teaching for nearly 20 years so there are a lot of ex-students out there in the world who are now fully fledged adults enjoying successful lives. As teachers, we know that we play an important and positive role in children’s lives and the rewards are immense. Sometimes we do forget this when we are bogged down in the politics of the job but we are proud of being teachers and our profession. The classroom can be an exciting place and we have had those “Dead Poet’s Society” moments where we know we have just experienced a eureka moment in the classroom or something we have taught has had a profound effect on a child. Despite this, I always thought that, for students, our role in their lives was time specific. They grow up, they move on, they forget their time at school. At the end of the day we are just Mr and Mrs Brown.
Since Felix’s diagnosis, we have been overwhelmed with best wishes and kindness from many of our ex-students. Students that we have taught over the last 20 years. The compassion, love and kindness we have received from them has been phenomenal. Within days of diagnosis, a young man I taught many years ago had contacted me and offered his love and support. He is also receiving treatment for leukaemia but instantly offered support for Felix and was one of the many who reached out to AFC Bournemouth to help. An ex-student of Mr Brown’s has been instrumental in keeping Felix busy with copious amounts of Lego she has managed to source from colleagues and friends. An ex-student turned up at our door after a long day at work with a gift for Felix; he’s never met Felix but went out of way to do something for him. Currently, a student is training hard and preparing to face the 3 peaks challenge for us. The time and effort many students and ex-students have afforded us is humbling.
The amount of compassion and support we have received from students and ex-students is awe-inspiring. From cards with heartfelt messages to the AFC Bournemouth Match Attax team, children and adults have taken their time to show they care. To me, this is why all those involved in education, students, parents and teachers, should be praised and celebrated. Our youngsters do have a high quality of education. It is one that somehow, amongst the new initiatives, testing and tick-boxing, also instills a sense of morality, compassion and community. Our children do make progress, at different times in different ways which are not measured; the schools are doing what they should be doing despite lack of funding and teachers do live and breathe education to make sure the children have the well-rounded education they deserve. I am honoured to teach the students we do and those from the past. They make me proud. Thank you.
Justine Greening hear this…