Where do you fit?

This all sounds lovely and academic, but where is your voice? Why are you doing this?

Ahhh yes, I have had a meeting with my masters supervisor and while he is rather pleased with the way that I write, he isn’t too enthused about the quantity (or complete lack thereof) nor that it is sounding rather dry… apparently I need to insert my “voice” into the process… which prompted me to ask if I could swear in the thing… “No, best not,” was his reply, “people might not understand the context.”

What is the context? I have always avoided the bit about teaching where you care for the students emotional wellbeing. I am a senior English and History teacher, we care about content, the transmission of our very specialist knowledge into the older mind, my favourite year level to teach is Year 11 – old enough to know about the world, but not completely lost in the stresses of their final year. SO why is it then, when asked to apply to teach in the college (years 11 & 12) I said no, and put my name down to teach Year 7 again? For the third year running? To take on the homeroom responsibility, the care of 25(ish) young minds, their education and their overall care. I will have another year of explaining that we don’t argue about pencils, that calling someone an “idiot” isn’t the way to go, that really I can drink coffee in the classroom, that, yes, I have a life outside the classroom so you will see me at the movies, the show, the shopping centre and any manner of other places.

Teaching middle school is all about the relationships, I get to hear about what  they did on the weekend, who they “like”, how things are at home, if they are having troubles with another teacher or subject, even the Lingerie Football League. I know those kids as learners, I know what they are capable of and what it is that they need to be pushed with and generally how to do it. I am a not a senior teacher, I am a middle school teacher. That particular admission scares me to death, but then I wonder why it is that we don’t look at the lessons of middle schooling and apply them to the senior sector of education – or look at alternative models where there are vertical groupings. That is where my voice is in all of this.

I am looking at a school which has taken this approach, and it is my role to talk to the students about it. What their experiences of the changing nature of education are, with the focus on one particular change. They have been “well-informed” during the transitional process, but I suspect that there hasn’t been the true consultation with the students that they would have liked. So often adults – be they teachers, parents or other authority figures – ask students/teenagers/young adults/children what it is that they think about something, without actually taking their perspective seriously. Lip service is paid to the process, as it is one more step in the chain, one more thing to do and then move on from (or move forward in the more current management wank-speak).

I want to give the students a real voice about the change and what it felt like for them.

Okay… now I need to go and write about that for a bit, thanks for listening.

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