Bad news sells. We live in a world of 24 hours rolling news. Emergency follows crisis, follows failure, follows catastrophe. Our diet of educational stories is more often stacked full of pessimistic stories of the inexorable decline of pretty much everything and everyone in education.
The Secret Teacher is a case in point. The Guardian has erected this weekly article as a symbol of all that is wrong in education today – a lone cry in the wilderness. Allegedly, these anonymous teachers draw back the veil on the inequities of the staffroom. They pin up easy-to-hate most wanted posters of the worst of school leadership. They lay bare the struggle of teachers everywhere. Apparently.
The Secret Teacher supposedly reveals truths about the utter evil of politicians and exams and fellow teachers and dangerous students and coffee and break times and Wednesdays and themselves and others and whiteboards and corridors and lunch and everyone and everything. Sorry, I delve into parody because the endless wailing of the secret ones too often descends into clumsy parody.
Yes – I recognise the attempt to give a voice to the disenfranchised. I do not wish to stifle debate or to mock those who suffer in bad schools. No doubt there are many bad schools and bad school leaders, bad experiences and unhelpful colleagues. Only I am sick and tired of the unremitting negativity of the Secret Teacher fraternity. I’ve written criticisms of OFSTED and more like any other blogger – but sweet Mary Jane – the horror of moaning – the horror!
Perhaps it won’t be as effective click-bait, but maybe The Guardian could select a few more teachers with something laudable or positive to say about our noble profession. We might coax a few people into the profession, or fire up a few experienced teachers with the kindling of hope and perseverance. Perhaps we will pat one another on the back and say, we aren’t doing too bad a job, in pretty decent conditions.
My small offering as an antidote is a catalogue of my most positive and celebratory posts about teaching and education. Perhaps others can write their antidote, share their celebratory writing. I have read many positive articles that will endure and provide me sustenance that the ash filled apples of the Secret Teacher files.
– Reasons to be Educationally Cheerful in 2014. The ideal antidote. Remembering all the positive changes to education in 2014.
– The Indefatigability of Hope. It does what it says on the tin really!
– The Butterfly Effect In Schools. This post explores Ron Berger’s beautiful ‘Austin’s Butterfly’, crossed with Sir Tim Brighouse’s notion of the butterfly effect in schools. Berger and Brighouse – when mired in Secret a Teacher induced gloom – read these two titans.
– The (Un)Confident Teacher. This is a celebration of teachers and teaching. A portrait of unassuming, humble brilliance.
– Becoming a Better teacher by Deliberate Practice. We have the agency and choice to become a better teacher. The Secret Teacher likely does not possess this belief. It may prove useful.
– Opening the Door on our ‘Craft Knowledge’. Another celebration of our great craft and a cal to be open and share our practice. No secrets or closed doors.
– The Teacher Expert and the Cynic. I know which side the Secret Teacher is on. Which side are you on?
There is my #SecretTeacherAntidote. One for each day of the newsworthy week – with one extra just for you!