Without exaggeration, I can quite confidently say not a week goes by that there isn’t an article or commentary on education in our media. The usual common elements include, but are not limited to, ‘discussions’ regarding perceived falling literacy and numeracy standards, the merits or otherwise of NAPLAN, school funding or lack thereof, and of course, the ever popular discourse regarding teacher’s competencies and salaries.
For far too long the media has hijacked the narrative on education and has successfully reduced whatever the latest topic is to the most simplistic of arguments. It seems to be all based on the underlying premise that each teacher should, and must be, all things for all students. And indeed, some would argue, for their parents.
Accountability, professionalism, standards, assessments, evidence – these are just a few of the terms that currently permeate the educational sphere. Whilst I am certainly not discrediting the need to have rational and vigorous debate on these issues, there is a need to expand the narrative, to add another perspective.
I believe what the current educational narrative lacks is a reminder. Simply put, a reminder this profession is characterised by people who have a deep desire to make a difference in the life of a child. That is why we teach.
We cannot be all things and yet we desperately try to be. Even though rationally we know we can’t, we do not stop trying. Ironically, it is this perceived failure, indeed this inevitable failure, that pushes us to always ‘do more’ and yet at the same time it is the reason why we are constantly such easy targets.