Can Teaching and Politics Ever Be Separate?

Here at Twinkl we avoid having a political agenda because we don’t want to get bound up in the whys and wherefores of different parties. Does this mean that we don’t hold political perspectives? Maybe, maybe not, I couldn’t possibly say!

Whatever the case, we believe there is always room for improvement in education. Whether we’re talking about the Tory government of the last few years, or the Labour government before that, or successive administrations through history, we have yet to reach an end point by which everyone can say with absolute certainty that education is 100% right.

And that’s not going to change. No matter who you voted for in the last general election, and which party you choose in the next one, if there’s one thing that is nailed on, the world of education can always be fine-tuned and made better. But this doesn’t necessarily mean jumping through hoops or filing oodles of paperwork, it means that your teacher career is a journey and that as long as you are taking positive steps to improve then that’s going to happen.

Here at Twinkl we do have an agenda: and that is to support teachers. We hope to be able to alleviate some of the burden, or enhance pedagogy where possible, so that, in spite of any policy twist or turn, you educators can get on with what you do best, which is to educate.

I always think of a football metaphor: I hate the fact that referees are blamed for a team’s results, even if they have made a run of poor decisions. A match official may shape the match, but ultimately the team that comes out on top will be the one that responds best to the circumstances. So a manager can blame the referee all they want, but how have they, and their players reacted to decisions, whether the decisions went their way or not?

It’s just the same with education and politics. If you can influence political change then great, but if not, how are you going to respond to what you’re given?

So much of teaching is about working with what you are given. If your school budget doesn’t allow for you even to have replacement biros or workbooks in the classroom then what are you going to do? I find that it is in situations like this that teachers become even more resourceful. It’s not political activism that makes you a good teacher (although that undoubtedly demonstrates passion), it’s how you operate within your immediate learning setting.

Am I being reductive? Am I saying, “Shut-up-and-put-up!” Am I telling you not to politicise education? No, none of these things. But I would encourage you that you have to work with the tools that you have available to you, and the best teachers are those that adapt and move forwards.

Sam.

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