Collaboration: Collaboration is working with each other to do a task. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realise shared goals, this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective.

So, yesterday was another day. And another debate that has divided Twitter into two camps….those who teach, and those who don’t.

Regularly teachers are criticised, condemned and blamed for everything from too much sex education to giving children chocolate. We are admonished for having too many holidays, too much time off and yes…of course we finish work at three fifteen every day!

Yesterday’s debate started with talk about taking holidays during term time. This is an argument for which I can see both sides. As a teacher it’s a sodding pain in the arse when one or two of your class aren’t there for a fortnight. They miss whole concepts. They miss precious bonding time. They miss routine, being part of a school community and so much more. However, I can also see it from the viewpoint of a parent, why should we have to pay extortionate amounts to take a holiday? Why should we be dictated to and only be allowed to go away at certain times of the year or risk a fine?

But what has got to me today, is that even though it is NOT teachers who have made up this ridiculous law, it is teachers who are being blamed and condemned for it. Being a teacher is endlessly frustrating and for every parent who thanks you for being an inspiration to their child there are a million others quick to criticise. We are criticised for working children too hard, for not working them hard enough, for being too firm, for being too lenient. It is a very very difficult job to meet the individual needs of 30 children, but it’s a hell of a lot harder meeting the needs of their parents.

And I know, I KNOW, that YOU are their parents and I can hear you screaming at me through my computer. But so many parents don’t trust us to do what is right for their children, they don’t listen. The media and Gove don’t bloody help either, but I can assure you that all we are ever trying to do is what is best for your child, each and every single one of them, every single day. I am very aware as a teacher that children get one shot at school and they deserve their shot to be the very best. Sadly though too many people don’t respect teachers, which in turn results in children not respecting teachers. If the parent doesn’t support the school, then naturally it feeds down.

Anyway, I digress. The debate was about holidays during term time. In my own personal opinion I think family holidays are so important. Time when you can be a family with no pressure of work, commitments or school. To explore other countries, learn new languages and immerse yourself in new cultures. And I would argue that travel firms, who I know are businesses and will therefore function like one, create divides by upping their prices dramatically during the holidays which sadly out prices holidays for many people. I should know, I don’t get a choice and can only go away in the school holidays! I think there are certain times in the year when a holiday in term time could, maybe be ok, at the end of term for example and I DON’t agree with schools fining parents if they take their children out unauthorised during term time or the new law one bit. And what frustrates me more than anything is that everyone blames schools when it’s the sodding government who are responsible for the half the shit we have to do anyway. It is not schools who are banning packed lunches, it is not schools who are banning holidays!! It is the government who are proposing all of these things.

I’m not saying that education is perfect at the moment, far far from it, (that’s another post!) but every single teacher I know could not be more passionate about their profession. Could not be more motivated and enthusiastic to provide children with the best possible education they can. Most teachers at my school get there at half past seven in the morning and have to be thrown out of the building by the caretaker at six o’clock, then only to take masses of work home and sit and do it all evening. And before someone comments that there are some rubbish teachers in the world then yes, you’re right, there are, we can’t all be perfect, but thankfully they are in the minority. Many, many teachers are parents themselves and do for every single child in their class what they would expect a teacher to do for their children. I have become so attached to the children I’ve taught in the past that at the end of the year I have been in tears at the thought of not teaching them everyday the following year.

I just wish for once that parents and schools could work as teams, we’ve all got children’s best interests at heart after all. The whole holiday in term time debate is just another angle for which teachers can be criticised from. It’s such a shame. If we all had a report card about collaboration I imagine it would say…..could do better.

I have also written a post about Gove’s proposed longer school days and shorter holidays which you can read here.


34 thoughts on “Collaboration

  1. Great post! I just quit teaching whoooo hoo! But got do fed up with the agro. Take travel companies to task yes, not teachers. No don’t fine parents, that is crazy. But how is it the fault of teachers. And to all those who think it is an easy job with loads of holidays then why are you not doing it? Go and be a teacher if you think it’s so great. Job nearly finished me off, so glad to be out of it.

  2. Wonderful post!

    I totally agree with you, unfortunately teachers are the “messenger”, making you the targets for parents anger rather than the real culprit’s in government, and when children are involved passion runs high.
    It’s too easy to forget that teachers are doing their job and can’t actually refuse to teach / enforce systems as instructed by government.
    I remember similar feelings of frustration when I worked for UKBA, people believe everything the Daily Mail writes without ever knowing what they really do.
    It really would be wonderful if there was increased collaboration between parents and teachers, after all, we all want the best for the children,

  3. I love the angle you have taken on this.
    My first thought on this debate was that there is a reason that parents are bring discouraged from taking their kids out of school – it seems it does make it more difficult for the school to do its duty (if that’s the right way of putting it) ie. providing education to the child – if they are not there during term time.
    However, this does strike me as a bizarre way of going about discouraging people, a fine is not likely to stop people, more the idea that they are putting extra strain on a system that is already strained might….I’m not saying that taking holidays in term time is terrible at all, I can totally see why people would do it…just yeah…would be nice for everyone to work together and take into account people’s individual circumstances…hence I like the collaboration theme.

    • I think a fine just rightly gets people even more wound up. Some people will do what they please whatever is said, they can’t see it from the other side. We are all after what is best for every child, and missing school can really be damaging! Thank you for reading!

  4. It would be nice if government could stop messing around with adding in new rules all the time for schools, as normally they only turn round and change it again after a couple of years! I do find it frustrating that holidays are more expensive out of term time, but wouldnt take it out on the teachers!!

  5. I hunk the reason people blame schools, although it is Government policy, is schools do different things. Have different attitudes to taking children out. My own sons head teacher is clear, at the moment, policy says 2 weeks is ok but after Sept says this may no longer be the case. I know of other school where head simply says no. It’s confusing, I think the missing bit is a pressure on the holiday companies. Why aren’t parents applying their significant klout on shouting about this. Why aren’t we campaigning? Why do we just accept it all cost more in August. Why does it have to?

    • I totally agree, it’s not fair that they hike their prices up at certain times, and I know they are a business, but they are out pricing so many people which isn’t fair. I also agree about schools being consistent, which is what the government are trying to enforce. Thank you for reading.

  6. Fab post. My children have all had fabulous teachers! I don’t envy you all having 25+ kids to control, care for each day! Hard enough with 5! ha!

    Thanks for linking up with this weeks Mad Mid-Week Blog Hop! xx

  7. Brilliant post. It’s clear that you’re very passionate about what you do, which is great to hear. All the teachers I know are the same – they do it for the love because it’s certainly not for the money! If only the government could employ some of you lovely people to help devise new policies rather than pluck ideas from thin air which is what it seems they currently do… #PoCoLo

  8. I completely agree with you and like any job some people just won’t see the good that you do and will pick holes in something they don’t agree with.
    I am furious about the change, but don’t blame the teachers, after all they’re doing their best.
    I think holidays should be granted in term time provided that work is caught up on, attendance is excellent and it’s restricted to 1 or 2 weeks maximum!

  9. Lovely post. Hope it was even a little cathartic πŸ™‚
    Teachers do get put upon. Can’t help thinking that the fines given to parents will not make the trip in term time cost more than during holidays. Maybe just a government revenue scheme, rather than tackling the holiday companies.

  10. I’m not a teacher, but I’m a school governor and a parent of three kids who have been through the same school since 2005 and still another four years to go. I have seen enough to know how hard teachers work, how they put children first and try to respond to their individual needs. I don’t have a bad word to say against schools or teachers and I think anyone who took the time to look at what their school and teachers were doing would feel the same. Great post.

  11. Hear hear! I think a lot of problems with education would be fixed if the government just trusted teachers to know what they were doing and let them get on with it. Teachers have to spend so much time proving what they’ve done that they dont have time to actually do anything! I won’t wade into the school holidays debate, but I 100% support you in the don’t-blame-teachers thing, as well as your call for cooperation. Parents and teachers should stand together to educate children. (And if you have more to say on education, let me know and perhaps you could link to my Clean Slate project?) xx

  12. Brilliantly put! You are so right to not blame the teachers. And to read your thoughts that offer a lovely blend of teacher and parent was really eye-opening. I have never taken my children out of school for a holiday, but we have considered it. If we ever wanted to take them abroad I would have to take them out as we would otherwise never afford it. But my parents used to take me out of school for 2 weeks every June and whilst I loved all the memories I have of France and learning the language, I also remember how very hard it was to catch up socially (not so much academically) and would often feel left out and isolated as a result. xx

  13. Brilliant post and wonderful words well said! I am behind the teachers all the way with things like this. I had a great meeting with the head teacher of Grace’s old school before she left confirming that Grace should leave a week early so we could go to France and then no one would be any the wiser and they wouldn’t get in trouble. I don’t envy the teachers position. I feel that the holiday companies should stop ruddy well cashing in! Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

  14. Fining people is a complete waste of time anyway. The money you save going in term term easily pays for any fines the government threaten you with. People with lots of money won’t care about these fines anway. Parents don’t want to take their kids out of school it’s just that some families would never get to go on holiday if they didn’t bend the rules a bit.
    It’s nice to read a teachers point of view. Just wish the government would make some sense out of it. I think that something like 7 days a year can be taken in term time would help everyone.
    Am all for the change in the holidays, spread it out a bit.

  15. Great post, I can feel how passionate you are about this and it really is something that affects all of us parents. It really is a case of ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ sadly. We have always had great respect for Little D’s teachers who have been nothing but supportive throughout his early years education, but unfortunately, just like there are some teachers who aren’t so passionate about their job, you get some parents who are narrow minded and ill-informed. You are so right, parents and teachers need to work together – for the sake of the children’s education x

  16. Such a well-crafted post Jen, well done for speaking your mind and sticking up for the teaching profession who sadly get lumped under the Gove umbrella. I for one am hugely grateful for teachers – there’s no way on earth I could home-school so thank you from the bottom of my heart! I’m going to share this on my ‘Friday Favourites’ this week, I hope that’s okay. x

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