Why do we accept so many insults in education?

The past few years I’ve seen it happening over and over again. You find yourself in a room full of teachers or principals listening to a speaker – usually from outside education – who in a charismatic and funny way, insults the entire audience, calling them sheep, obsolete, redundant … You can see the same happening in often shared videos, such as the videos by Ken Robinson or Prince EA. These videos don’t have to be 50% correct (eg Robinson ) or they can even be completely wrong (eg Prince EA ), but they are still massively shared, often by teachers and principals themselves.

This may partly be due to a self-critical spirit in which teachers themselves think education should do better. It could stem from their own discomfort about how certain things are happening in education. True, sometimes it can be a good idea if someone from the outside looks at what you’re doing, but let this than be someone who goes beyond phraseology.

But … I see something else too little. Much too little. I’m talking about teachers and principals who proudly share what they are doing. Who answer gurus that they don’t know what they are talking about, but that these gurus should not hesitate to come around for a few months to try to teach themselves. Who tell techno freaks that their utopian image will become obsolete within two years and that they overlook the inequality happening in their dreams, while education should help all children.

There are many wonderful things happening in education, enough to be proud of. There remains plenty of work to do – as in every field – not to be complacent. But with a little more pride and self-awareness, we would perhaps be able to ensure that more people choose to become a teacher.

We won’t be able to solve the teacher shortage all by ourselves – the government also has work on the shelf – but it is the part that we can do. Today, the Global Teacher Price will be announced. This is a good initiative to put an emphasis on the great education does. But let us all show that the winner is no exception.

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