I’m not disrupting education, I’m trying to save it by @NicolaStone

The voice of one teacher striking in England

Striking is always criticised in the media: it is painted as selfish, greedy and unnecessary. It DOES disrupt the day to day runnings of things, and I have definitely been guilty of complaining profusely about 3 hour commutes caused by train strikes but there is a lot more to in than inconvenience.  I have thought about striking long and hard, and having previously been a member of a non-striking union, the current educational climate has forced me literally to take a stand. Many may not agree with me if the strike today has caused inconvenience to their daily routine, but being a teacher is more than just my job, it is an incredibly important part of my life and has a huge influence on my outlook in general. I don’t apologise for disrupting your day, and these are my reasons why.

Editorial subtext. This re-blog was submitted by Nicola Stone, a teacher in England. A proportion of teachers in England went on strike in July 2016, and this blog post explains some of the reasons why the action was taken. You can read the original post by clicking here.

I’m striking today because my profession is at breaking point. To see it as one day of disruption to education is short-sighted. Staff rooms across the country are filled with miserable teachers on the brink of leaving the profession, and classrooms in Y6 have been filled with tearful children who have been forced to take tests that are inappropriate and demoralising. The bright-eyed 4-year-olds that come into primary schools have 7 years ahead of them suffering an education system that is archaic, and that contradicts the wealth of educational research that underpins my ideology of education and my understanding of pedagogy. I am not alone in holding those ideals and understanding.

I am striking because I believe in a better education than the one I am being constrained to providing, and as well as marching for those beliefs, I am spending this day engaging with literature that has pedagogy at its core and is routed in practice based and theoretical, educational research, as opposed to the whimsical policies of the non-educationalist politicians who have the audacity to accuse teachers of ‘disrupting education’.

I am striking because teachers and children deserve better. The children we teach will have to deal with the mess of the future that is being created by decision makers of the present; in order to do that, they are going to need a lot more than the grammar and arithmetic heavy curriculum they are saturated with: they are going to need creativity, the ability to problem solve, resilience, flexibility and tenacity. We are teachers, we know how to facilitate the learning of those things and we need to be given the space and the professional respect to do so.

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