In a chat with some teachers tonight, one commented that she doesn’t have time to keep up with politics because she is too busy teaching. I hear that a lot, and to be honest, I was exactly the same when I was in the classroom. Note to Hekia Parata and David Seymour, if you want me to be quieter, I need a job.
Seriously, though, between the planning and marking, the social issues, special educational needs, my own professional development and reflections, staff meetings, art exhibitions, camp trips, paperwork, and heaven knows what, there is little space left in many educators’ minds for anything else. Doubly so if they have a family.
It’s hard to strike a balance between being informed and having one’s head in the sand. We want to know what’s going on, but we don’t want to become overwhelmed, which can so easily happen in teaching as in many jobs. So what do we do?
Well, there are a few simple ways to keep up with what’s going on in education politics:
1) Make sure your union has your email address and you get the regular updates sent out.
1a) Take a minute to read the emails from the union. Seriously, just having them in your in-box doesn’t count, much like the pile of dieting books on my shelf aren’t helping me lose weight.
2) Attend union meetings and ask questions.
Clearly you use social media because you are reading this. Excellent – I like the cut of your gib. Now maybe you would like to follow some of these marvellous people so that you can find out what’s going on via them, too:
- NZ Teachers (Primary) Facebook group – private group (ask to be a member)
- Stand Up For Kids – Protect Our Schools Facebook group – open group
- Save Our Schools NZ (SOSNZ) Facebook page – open to all
- @ – works for PPTA
- @ – primary school teacher
- @ – Palmy teacher
- @ – me – primary school teacher
- @ – high school teacher/SENCO
- @ – NZEI New educators’ Network
On Facebook and Twitter you will find new people and pages to follow, some will come, some will go, and you will find your tribe. It’s invaluable – I can totally recommend it for the best PD around, quite aside from keeping up with education politics.
Ask other teachers to tell you what’s going on. You don’t have to accept their viewpoint or what they’re saying without question, but you will still get an idea of the issues of the moment and some of the concerns.
Read those magazines, leaflets and posters in the staff room to find out the latest.
Ask your union rep. If the rep isn’t clear, ask someone else.
Pick What Works For You
You owe it to yourself, your profession, your students and their parents to be informed. Changes will happen – they always do – but you must be clear of the possible impact of those changes so you can choose whether your input or action is needed. Being passive is not really an option.
Pick whatever methods work for you. If you are on the computer a lot for work, maybe join a Facebook page or group (or two), and consider Twitter to link to other educators (well worth it, I promise).
Whatever way you do it, find your tribe and get yourself informed.
PS, thanks for the work you do in our schools. We parents appreciate it more than we might let on.