I’ve never considered myself a revolutionary. To anyone who knows me, that’s hardly surprising. I’m more of a polite petition-signer and pensive ponderer: I respond internally and then talk to my friends about things that matter to me, but I don’t often act. What can I really do? I think, What difference can I make? and, anyway I need to start making that pasta-bake or the kids will have nothing to eat for tea…
You might be nodding your head in recognition at that or you might be wringing your hands in frustration. Really, we should all do more. I get that. Society needs us to do more. The world needs us to do more but… that pasta isn’t going to cook itself… it’s the smallest AND the biggest thoughts that can prompt inaction.
For these reasons, along with a profound fear of saying the ‘wrong thing‘, I’ve basically kept this blog free of political opinion. Even as, over the past year, things have got worse for so many in our society, I’ve kept quiet. The misery of teachers and junior doctors (to name just a few) has been plastered all over the news and my social media feeds and I’ve felt so angry and so sad but, I thought – beyond signing petitions (and please, everyone, do keep signing petitions!) – what could I do? My blog has a tiny readership! Why speak up?
And then last Friday it all got too much. The feelings I’d had about this government’s educational policy finally came pouring out. Who cared if I wrote the wrong thing? And who cared if hardly anyone read it? I had to write about it, HAD to, and the words just fell, rolled, cascaded onto the page. And without really meaning to come up with anything at all, I came up with a plan to use parent power to support our teachers and get the government to listen. I had no idea if it would work. I HAVE no idea if it could work. But…
Wow. Just wow. The response has been immense. In less than a week that post has been viewed over five thousand times. FIVE THOUSAND! That’s more views than my entire blog normally gets in three months (I told you my blog was tiny, right?)!
But it’s so much more than just the figures (although, as any blogger will tell you, the figures can be kind of exciting in their own right: Ooh look at that graph! Get that referral count!) the comments on the post, on Twitter and on Facebook have been amazing. Teachers and parents have suggested we should really try and put my plan into action. I’ve spent hours chatting on social media about the necessity for action and what it means for our kids and schools and society if we don’t. I’ve felt overwhelmed, moved to tears at times, by the strength of emotion people have shared.
So this post is a thank you to everyone who’s commented, shared and tweeted. And it’s a thank you to all the teachers who work so hard to care for all our kids. ALL our kids. Not just the clever ones, not just the wealthy ones. Because good teachers know how important all our children are. They know what their potential is and how best to achieve that. And that’s why it’s so vital that we listen to them – that we support them when they say that there’s something fundamentally wrong with government policy.
Just before hitting publish on this post I found out that a group of parents has just launched a campaign to boycott year 2 SATs in favour of ‘a day of fun learning out of school’. BOOM. Check out their website and petition!
I still don’t consider myself a revolutionary. But if we work together, all of us – parents and teachers and everyone who sees the urgent need for change – if we’re ALL united?
Maybe that’s precisely what we can be.
The Prompt this week is ‘Renewal’. I’m linking this post because the response to my education post has reminded me of how many people out there want change and has given me a renewed sense of hope.