Tough Love

3110358891_f7bf8de367_oSo today was the last day of term for Mr7. A big day for a kid who struggles with emotions. He didn’t last the day, and was pretty distraught about having to leave his 5 close friends as we move to the Central Coast, an hour and a half away.

We are also going to miss the passion and enthusiasm of Mrs Harris and Daniel Harris at St. Clair OOSH. They have been so supportive and had a massive impact on Mr7s life. In fact, the few hours he spend there were far more productive that those at school (a trend we don’t want to see. One of the reasons for our move, is that Mrs Campbell was leaving Mr7s school. She was the teacher that ‘got him’ and she was a upset as he was to be separated.

So a big day in our household. My wife was fare welled by parents who we’re crying – maybe because she took kids from reading level 1 to level 25 in 1st grade, or that she wasn’t going to let ‘staff room opinion’ of ‘kids’ get in the way of finding ways to connect with them. She was sad to leave, not because she would miss the school, but perhaps knowing that some of those kids really didn’t get too much quarter from other staff.

This is the part of ‘school’ that makes it so damn tough. Schools are not equitable and at times you have to wonder why some ‘teachers’ even bother going to work (i mean school) every day. That’s the point. Its not really a ‘job’ but a massive honour to know these kids and in some way help shape their lives.

But at the end of the day, we’ve had to take a tough love decision – which is to try and find the best environment for our kids, and in doing so I think has a big impact on not just us, but the parents and teachers that we’re all so inter-connected with. I find it really hard to see a teacher’s decision to give up their worksheets, rote learning and wordsearches is that hard in comparison with what parents and kids will give up – learning relevant to the times we live in.

It is amazing how just a few people actually matter in a kids life when it all boils down to it. So if you are lucky enough to have one of those teachers in your kids life, then smile and be happy, cause just around the corner are laggards who think that what they do is ‘work’. It is just a shame that in order to give Mr7 and Miss5 an enjoyable and relevant learning experience … so much else had to change. I really find it hard to accommodate these people these days … yes it’s time consuming to do, yes it’s more work than you have to do, yes it means getting to know kids (and really caring), and taking the harder road even when presented with the easy one. If that all sounds like bs or work … consider getting the hell out of our kid’s lives. We won’t be worse off.

I’d like to thank everyone who’s read this stuff, helped me, inspired me and continues to influence and motivate me – I hope to catch up with lots of your at NECC in 2009 – and more than happy to do as much as I can to repay all of it back to ‘the network’ of amazing people who know it aint a job – it’s an imperative.

Rant Over.


3 thoughts on “Tough Love

  1. “I find it really hard to see a teacher’s decision to give up their worksheets, rote learning and wordsearches is that hard in comparison with what parents and kids will give up – learning relevant to the times we live in.” – that is *gold*, Dean – thank you. As a direct result of teachers like you, we are now seeing some conflict between those that “get it” in terms of the ICT and those that “don’t” in our school. As much as it’s not always pleasant to be in the middle of it, I am confident that some positive change will come about. If we didn’t have teachers like you leading the way, I’m not sure where we would be!
    All the very best to you and your family as you embark on your new adventure.

    • Well that’s the thing – it doesn’t need to be a conflict. Doctors, Scientists, Police, Lawyers etc., have all progressively adopted new work practices that embedded technology in the last decade. Teachers, who see themselves in the same professional vein have for some reason seen this as an infringement of their ‘rights’ – “how dare you suggest that what I do is not anything less than professional”. By and large, they do now what they did a decade ago – and that simply is not enough. They don’t have a position of privilege, we are not seeking their permission – because the world doesn’t – we are seeking their co-operation. Social learning is now greater than classroom learning – there really is no reason not to.

  2. Good rant Dean! When i think back to my own childhood I think you’re right – it only takes one or two teachers in a kid’s life who really get them to make all the difference. I hope Mr7 and Ms5 find exactly those types of educators in their new school!

    Thankyou for all your work, ideas and passion in 2008 – you have def challenged and inspired many of us. I for one cant wait to see what you get up to in 09… look out MQ!!! 😉

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