I recently filled in one of those generic emails to the Victorian Premier about why I Give a Gonski. Before sending it, I stopped and pieced together a short paragraph about my own experience of teaching in one of the most disadvantaged schools in the state.
Here are some of those words, which were picked up by the team at the I Give a Gonski campaign and subsequently posted to their facebook page.
Note, the intent of these words is that there are students who are so deeply in poverty that their basic living needs are not being met. As a result, their capacity for learning at school each day is hindered.
In between the news broadcasts that bandy about phrases such as “school improvement” , “teacher quality”, “educational disadvantage” and “Great Teaching, Inspired Learning”, another average week in a public secondary school has passed by.
Through this flow of language that is more an onslaught of words and opinions than meaningful dialogue, I have started to hear an underlying current of who the politicians and journalists claim to be speaking for. In the position of privilege that I have frequently found myself in, I am now straddling two worlds. I am that teacher with disadvantaged kids in the classroom. The teacher at a rural school. The teacher in their first few years in the profession. The teacher over whom they are arguing and speaking authoritatively about. They have claimed my voice and are using it as a billion-dollar football.
Over the next week I will be posting some recollections of small, albeit meaningful, events that littered my week 7, term 1 2013. Each day I will also take a step back from my own experiences and bring into the picture snippets from last Monday’s Q&A education debate between Peter Garrett and Christopher Pyne.