Teacher don’t preach

Teachers need some education. And I’m not talking the 3 Rs. I’m talking talking.

Please Miss, and Mister, gonnae no’ keep talking to parents like they are single celled amoeba. Gonna please not bother with the hectoring, the condescension, the superiority syndrome and the preachy patter. It’s not big, and it certainly ain’t clever coming from people who are in the business of education.

Before you get on your defensive high horses, teacherly types, this is not an exercise in teacher bashing. Naw, this is a plea. A heartfelt one. A plea that you apply some new thinking and learning about communication skills to your educational repertoire. A plea that (once the initial relief and hysteria brought on by the end of term fever coursing through your veins has settled down) at least some of the expanse of the six week summer holiday stretching out before you is used to reappraise the two-way discourse between grown ups. And that’s because I really, really want you to talk to me like the grown up I am, and forget patronisation and pigeon-holing.

See, in some ways, I am every teacher’s worst nightmare. You know the type – middle class, middle aged, highly educated, long in the tooth, been round the block, knows a thing or two about life in the real world. The forthright, opinion-holding, animated, confident and articulate pain in the bahookie kind of parent. The kind of mother designed to strike fear and loathing into the very hearts of the education system. But when even confident, mature professionals like me cannae get a word in edgeways, and get repeatedly spoken down to from a great height, you’ve got to wonder how anyone with less confidence, less education and less privilege, could ever be listened to or taken seriously by those in charge of our children’s education.

Maybe I am a great big yellow-bellied coward for waiting ’til the day after the Word Up Wean bid adieu and good riddance to primary school forever to have my say, but believe me, I wasn’t alone in parental slack-jawed disbelief and feet-stamping frustration after 7 years of being talked down to. And if this is the only way to be heard by those who are deafened by the sheer volume of their own self-importance and scholarly status, then so be it.

I’m not putting all teachers in the cannae-communicate-to-save-their-lives category, course not. There are noble exceptions. Exceptions who, by no coincidence whatsoever, are often the best teachers too. The ones with the gift for communicating knowledge, the ones who bring learning alive, who inspire and excite. These good folks know the importance of making genuine human connection, and command faith, trust and respect from the bairns, and from their families. You guys are amazing.

For the slightly less amazing, any chance you too could keep learning? Please, please, please learn a new language. The human language. The language that adults speak to each other, the one where you talk to us, and not at us. Go on! Give it a whirl – you might be surprised. After all, it’s good to talk.