Years ago I studied for a Speech Pathology/Psychology Joint Honours degree. I loved working with children and in particular those with speech SEN issues and spent time working in SALT units as an assistant. However, I realised that I didn’t like the system I would have had to work in. It frustrated me and many of the speech therapists I worked with were ethical souls who detested the cuts, the bureaucracy and the lengthy time in getting support.
I also had a dream about being a teacher because I home educated my daughter and enjoyed doing so much. However, it took me a very short time to realise that the way I approached education, based on my understanding of child development was unlike how schools were in the Early Years (which was one major reason I home educated). I did attend some Waldorf school training but becoming a Steiner school teacher would have involved moving to an actual school and that was not something I could entertain on a practical basis nor was everything perfect about Steiner schools to me either.
I’d love to teach but I disagree with the political interference by successive UK governments in the education system. I hate that politicians who have no qualifications in education nor child development get to dictate what and how things are taught and push a political agenda onto our children. I hate that anxiety disorders are prevalent in our children. I hate that teachers complain about poor rates of pay and working conditions and yet they don’t do what the teachers in Finland did which was to go on strike to save the children from politics. We need an education system that is not dictated by the latest whim of ministers and other politicians but instead reflects the developmental needs and abilities of children and young people, that is age appropriate, has a lot of movement and play in the early years that is not forced and removes the pressure of early academics. We need proper funding for CAMHS and to ensure that our education system is not a high pressure, anxiety disorder inducing one. We need teachers to hold qualifications and courses that stop them learning political doctrine and become the compassionate educational experts that countries such as Finland have and that parents are respected and not treated as rubbish by schools nor politicians. We need a system where children love and enjoy going to schools that are age and stage appropriate and further and university education is affordable or free rather than incurring huge amounts of debt. Plus not writing people off at 16 and filtering them so early on that they leave believing they are incapable. Academics and practical lifeskills are equally important; there’s no need to cram a child so early that they don’t develop on a holistic basis. Our political society seems to only value monetary value of each child, seeing them as products who come out as an adult that is either useful or useless to the economy, with little respect for the unfurling of childhood in all its ages and stages. The emotional welbeing of children is paid lipservice to but the delivery is failing and too many schools take a tickbox approach but don’t really care about the individual other than as a statistic for their league tables.
We need government out of educational experimentation. We also need to stop some of the dirty contracts such as Phonics publishers getting all the deals as it’s not the only way to teach reading but follow the money routes on that.