Thursday, 8 September 2016

Incentives and collective will.

Sometimes things require collective effort.

It might not suit broken budget Britain where the nation's favourite pastime is watching competitive bun baking and trying to force confused people on zero hour contracts into making spurious insurance claims about PPI they didn't know they had but I do think it's fairly self evident.

Musicians don't really get very far if they all just decide to play their own thing. (Citing jazz at this point doesn't make you clever, it just shows you don't understand jazz.) Imagine the Apollo Missions had they been built by a team of people set against each other working on some kind of league table system as opposed to working for one common goal. Hell, even the England cricket team get to boot out Kevin Peterson for wanting to do his own thing and not being helpful enough around the house.

I think education is probably one of those things that works better if we help each other out.

Having got back in the swing of things I have already reached a point where writing this blog seems a work of effort as opposed to the natural channelling of thoughts swirling in the ether just waiting to be conducted directly to your brain via the conduit of my rhythmic typing fingers.

In short, I've got a lot to do. I'm battling with the desire to truly self reflect and try and work out my issues with my own practice and the system I work within and marking some diagnostics or in a dangerously self indulgent twist, go to sleep and have a normal night's sleep in the hope the cough goes away. I'm not going to recount to recount the many other tasks in some kind of competitive misery porn style but you get the idea I'm sure. Jesus loves you little martyr that you are.

Having covered for a colleague today at short notice and written a (moderately successful) lesson on the back of a metaphorical fag packet I was later faced with a second cover session with the same group. My other colleagues tried to convince me to 'give the kids something to do' and let one of them baby sit but I was conscious that I didn't have anything to give them other than what was in my head.

This led me to wonder why, in a world of such connectivity and creativity we haven't managed to make this job easier yet? Why we haven't yet created a national bank of resources, a central repository of lessons, objectives and resources? I'm grizzled and battle worn and I would use it. I can only imagine what a boon it would be for cover staff and N/RQT's.

There are various banks of resources on social media sites, on privately owned forums and some things produced on a national level for core skills but given the sheer number of teacher doing what I've spent the last few weeks doing (hammering on a keyboard, creating templates, writing ideas and plans down) it seems astonishing that I couldn't quickly find a useful resource to teach a fairly basic topic.

Here's my idea. A national bank of resources (publicly funded) which in which crowd sourced resources are placed. A rating system is employed and resources which are deemed successful and engaging are highlighted and perhaps somehow in a system I haven't quite worked out yet, the author of the resource is rewarded financially.

Resources which do not quite meet the standard are marked 'in need of some revision' and if they become successful resources then the proceeds are split between the various revisers and the original uploader.

We could call it 'wikipedia' (lol) - I'm tired, this isn't my best work clearly.

I think it's a thin end of the wedge to be honest. As a fairly experience but flawed practitioner I have much to share and much to learn. I know there are at least 5 or 6 other experienced practitioners in the exact same specialism in the immediate area around my workplace.

Do we meet, share ideas, compare approaches, swap battle stories, critique each others resources and observe each other's lessons to truly learn to master our specialisms and craft?

No, do we hell. We suspiciously eye each other, judging our achievements and struggles, not on their own merits but in the light of the relative outcomes. Their good results aren't a cause for celebration but a reason for melancholy. Yet we claim to 'serve the local community.' We all want to be top of the class, to brag about our pass rate, high grades or the progress of our learners to red brick universities. We spend half the time working out which learner will trigger the biggest improvement in our value added score and talking about the school down the road as 'a threat' like it's a dream and we're all market traders.

Just stop for a moment.

Reflect on the unknowable enormity of the universe.

Deep calms breaths.

Imagine a world of possibility. A world made of licorice allsorts, a whale swimming through the air, a glass of blue milk. Think about the sound of angels serenading you, the sound phasing back and forth, filling the air, filling forever like a reflection in two opposing mirrors.

Breathe again.

Imagine if that school down the road wasn't a threat but an opportunity.

Maybe you wouldn't feel so lonely. Maybe you wouldn't feel you had to work quite so hard. Maybe you'd feel like part of something bigger, something that meant more than the corporate mission statement and the shite logo that cost more than you'd ever spent on resources for actual learners in your entire career.

Perhaps the learners would benefit.

Just a thought.

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