I have a child in school. In Reception class to be more precise. I also have three other pre-school children. And, God willing, who knows what else the future might bring.
And so, as I send my child off to school each morning, the hope and emotion I feel is that of a parent, not a professional. I want the best for my kids. We all do. It’s only natural.
What does this mean?
Well, it means I want a qualified teacher standing in front of her. A teacher who is not so exhausted from the excess demands of the job that they have not had time to plan lessons properly. A teacher who has the time to look at her work and tell her what is good about it, and tell her how it could be even better. A teacher who is not so creaking with workload that the intangibles which really do shape an education are not forever competing with an almighty focus on the measurables which can distort so much. A teacher with the time and freedom to talk to my child, to cherish her, to help her flourish, to keep her steady as she makes her first steps in this complex and sometimes confusing world. And to educate her. To make her cleverer. To open doors for her and give her the confidence and grounding to walk through them. Not a number on a progress sheet, but a person. A human person. A beautiful soul.
Teachers, on the whole, really are heroes. My child’s teacher certainly is. But it is often in spite of the demands of this system, or wearily in the face of it, rather than because of it. This is as true for secondary as it is for primary.
An education system that alleviated these conflicts would be a better education system. And if striking is one way of trying to bring about those improvements, then so be it.
Which means that I’m striking for my kids. And I’m also on strike for yours.
And I’ll stand proud in doing it.
And for those who have chosen to cross the picket line, just one question: who are you really doing it for?