Rewriting the Rule Book

My post below was posted on niedcamp.org on the eve of our #niedcamp day on 18th August in Stranmillis College.

I’m proud to be a teacher and I’m proud of the profession I serve. I really think that there’s no greater gift to give to a fellow person than enabling their child to achieve their potential; see their possibilities; to give them aspirations… It’s what the profession should be about.

I’m not naive enough to think that everyone feels like me, nor am I naive enough not to realise that there are a number of teachers who like getting paid each month without pushing themselves… We’ve all had those days, it’s worse when it becomes weeks.

However…

I’m also tired of excuses… Teaching never was an easy job and it isn’t getting any easier. But remember this, teachers have engaged in third level education and are supposed to have proven themselves to be academically capable.

This is why I don’t understand the resistance to change and to be flexible in the job. This is why I don’t understand why there are those teachers who won’t give their all to make a difference to their practice and, ultimately, to their children. It’s not, and never will be, an easy job…

However…

There are teachers in Northern Ireland who are determined to abolish the myth of short days and long holidays.

There are teachers who are prepared to give everything… And then a bit more… There are teachers who are prepared to look colleagues in the eye and respond to that question:

‘Why could you be bothered?’

With

‘Why aren’t you?’
Have you met Pamela?

Have you met Jacinta?

Have you met Dáithí?

Have you met Tim?

Have you met Corinne?

Have you met Amanda?

Have you met Dessie?

Have you met Heather?

Have you met Ciarna?

Have you met Simon?

Have you met Beverly?

Have you met Donna?

Have you met Heather?

Have you met Alastair?

Have you met Dessie?

Because, when you do, you’ll understand why I’m proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder in this #niedcamp movement to show how important professional development is to teachers. When Sir Ken Robinson talks about ‘surrounding yourself with your tribe’ these are the very people he means! We are the ones who talk shop when we go out because we know that’s where the best ideas grow… Why do you think there are pool tables and relaxation zones in all the best companies?

However….

There are the ‘Naysayers’ who think we’re foolish and letting the government off the hook. You know something, we may well be doing that but at least we’re not sitting at home ‘tutting’ about the state of the system! We are affecting change…

We are doing something…

We are resolute in our determination…

We are growing…

However…

You look at it, this positive militancy that #niedcamp is, showed that there are good people prepared not to be side-lined and who, ultimately, are trying to make things better for the children in their daily care.

With #Niedcamp about to launch – it is this team of teachers who are prepared to improve the lives of their colleagues, their children and teachers whom they have never met!

Why?

Because they are proud to make a difference;

They are proud of the profession;

They are proud of their professionalism.

When we think about teaching in Northern Ireland – these are the people that we should be thinking about. People who can, and do, make a difference. People who are prepared to give that extra bit to improve the lives of those around them.

This is the team that is raising the standard high – and carrying it proudly.

I look forward to #Niedcamp and how we can show that with a bit of flexibility, a positive approach and attitude; a lot of teamwork and focussed leadership – we can use one day to make a difference.

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