She used to be a head-teacher but my friend still came along to support my book event for ‘Who’s Not In School’. That’s because she supports the approaches we home educators use with our children out of school!
Much of what we do is what she’d have liked to do for the kids in the classroom; give them individual attention, free them from testing, inspire them with stimulating experiences, and ignite their passion to learn. But because of ridiculous educational bureaucracy it was impossible. You have to resign yourself to training kids to jump through hurdles, not be inspired. She did try, but like many teachers the frustration just makes you ill in the end.
So she’s left mainstream teaching now, along with thousands of others. She could no longer teach something she didn’t believe in. She’s now working in teacher training in the hope of showing the students other approaches to teaching rather than those conditioned reflexes they’ve learned as a result of their own schooling, still fresh in their experience log. We have to hope that their experiences of being taught were good enough to make them inspirational teachers. But as we all know, in the end they have to tick sheets and force kids through targets, irrespective of whether it’s doing them any good or not.
It’s quite frightening how many teachers do leave the profession. And it’s also very telling how many teacher/parents bring their children out of school to home educate. I’ve met some of them recently. And of course I’m among them.
And talking to these parents and former teachers I see we were prompted to home educate for the same reason, but not one you might be thinking.
I think many people assume teachers home educate because they know they can teach. But that’s not the reason at all and, as most of us come to understand, teaching isn’t really necessary anyway.
Most of the former teachers I meet home educate because they’ve seen what goes on in schools under the guise of education and they don’t want that happening to their children! They don’t want the children’s education inhibited by prescriptive curriculum, narrow approaches to learning, damaging and time wasting testing, and an experience akin to a conveyor belt. So they’ve left the profession and are bringing their kids with them.
So if the teachers don’t want their kids in the schooling system – what does that say about it? That would be an interesting question for the education minister to answer!