All too often we concentrate on the negative, on the things that go wrong, and we allow that to colour our overall perception of situations. We hear so many stories about bad teachers, bad schools, how awful our education system is, how dreadful our children are. But they’re not and it’s not. Stand back and take a good hard look at it. Our children are educated for free from the age of 4 until they are 18, it might not be perfect and it could be improved but it’s pretty good. Within it there is a body of caring, dedicated people working their socks off to teach our children and today I want you to take time to thank at least one of them.
I had an English teacher who ran a women’s group at my school and set me on the road which led to Save the Children, Mozambique and New York. Her name is Netta and I have recently re-established contact with her to thank her for inspiring me and stoking the fire in my belly which means I feel confident to stand up and shout about things which matter.
My eldest three children were all taught in Year 3 and 4 by a woman who has since become a close and important friend to me. She allowed them to be themselves, she didn’t squash them or resize them to fit and I cannot thank her enough for that.
Here she hugs my daughter on her last day at first school and I think (despite its blurriness) that you can see what an important relationship this is.
My youngest is just beginning his journey through the education system. As he starts Year 1 he has two teachers both of whom appreciate his sunny ways and his questioning mind. This morning I was grabbed at the gate to be told what a star he is and I walked home grinning.
I have been privileged to have been a teacher, a tutor, a governor and a parent to four children working their way through state education. It has not always been an easy ride but I can honestly say that the majority of teachers I have met and worked with are passionate about education and they care for the children they are entrusted with. They battle with the vagaries of politicians and the shenanigans of government and I salute them.