Teachers can still be agents of change!

Here’s the final part of our three-part series with Sarah sharing her thoughts from the ‘Making the connections global to local’ conference, held at Moseley School and Sixth Form in Birmingham on Saturday 7th January 2017.

“Remember those who walked this earth before you.  Tell yourself, ‘I will make my presence on this planet worthwhile’.  Teachers are uniquely placed to push this agenda.” Colm Regan, Author of 80:20, Development in an Unequal World.

Tim Boyes, the CEO of BEP (which is focusing on school improvement in the city) said he is keen to support what TIDE does in the city, and doesn’t see Ofsted or PISA as being the route to change.  He feels that the integrity of young people understanding what’s important in life is worse than ever.  He believes that there is a chance for global learning across the curriculum, and wants to get a copy of Colm Regan’s book out to all the school Heads he works with to enable them to utilise the information that is in there.  BEP is committed to a growing network of people who are committed to helping schools and teachers think about the deeply human challenges of integrity and thinking locally, acting globally.

Rita Chowdhury echoed the fact that we need to actively involve young people, and recognised there may be systemic failings in our education system to prepare the kids for the world they will be living in.  She believes we need to bring back the basics – hope, optimism and doing it collectively, which is a strength of TIDE.  Also, that going forward, TIDE needs to keep creating a space for things to happen and support for teachers to take a lead.

The Head of Kings Norton Girls’ School said that we need to get students to the point that they are self-generating, as this takes pressure off the teachers, so the values we are talking about need to be embedded into the curriculum, not additional.  I agreed and spoke about S4TP’s programme and how it fits in to everything we’d been discussing, and how some of our schools do indeed embed it into the curriculum, sometimes even connecting parts of it to other subjects, like English, for example.

We ended the conference by recognising that TIDE currently has no funding or salaried staff, so rebuilding the network is going to be a challenge, but that there is still a place and a need for the network, and hopefully it will form a co-partnership with BEP.  We need to keep teachers believing that they can still be agents for change.

We ended with a few quotes and words of wisdom, to spur us on in our activism:
Colm said, “Remember those who walked this earth before you.  Tell yourself, ‘I will make my presence on this planet worthwhile’.  Teachers are uniquely placed to push this agenda.”

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” (Theodore Roethke)

How apt these thoughts are in light of what is going on in the world at this moment.


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