Lesson 48 This one’s for Sara and LB
Today’s lesson is what is nowadays called a”plenary” session. You can skip it if you like.
We didn’t have these in the bad old days. We just reminded ourselves of the important points we had covered in a lesson and how they fitted in with what we were doing overall. It didn’t have a name. It wasn’t compulsory. Good teachers did it because it made sense. It helped people learn.
Sadly, just having a neat lesson plan in sections with names on them, doesn’t make somebody a good teacher. It can help, but it isn’t the central point. The key thing is focusing on your pupils and wanting them to learn for their sakes, not your own.
Everything else springs from that – the organisation, the pacing of lessons, the attention to individual needs. You do this, not because it is required by some external policing body, but because it helps those you care for as your personal and professional responsibility.
Today Sara asked how her son could die.
He died because the people employed to look after him allowed it to happen. His care was not their top priority. At every level in the system something else was more important to them.
Sara asks, over and over again, “How can this happen? How can this be allowed to continue?”
We ask with her, “How can the people responsible tolerate this mockery of good practise? How can they live with themselves? How do they sleep at night? ”
The answer is truly terrible.
Because they sleep OK. They get on with their lives. They do what they have to do to get by. They look after their families and their gardens. They go to IKEA and buy furniture. They do charity fun runs. They’re just ordinary people. They’re you and me.
When people can only earn a living or get promotion by going along with bad practise, then that’s what they do. They’ll find ways of justifying this to themselves. They’ll try to do a bit of good in their own area. They’ll deceive themselves into thinking it’s not that bad. Occasionally they’ll find they can’t stand it, especially when faced with downright cruelty, and they’ll have a breakdown, or a change of career with a drop in salary, but the majority can’t afford that luxury.
Q: What it is about our present system that fosters such manifest lack of care?
A. If nobody bothers what actually happens, so long as you tick the right boxes, then that’s what you do. The box tickers run the show.
But it doesn’t have to be so.
Even in the worst places there are people who would prefer to do a good job. Most people would, given the choice. Good people just need to be recognised and encouraged. They need the system to help, support and reward them, instead of grinding them down.
If that isn’t happening, we need to change the system.