I am currently reading a book called ‘Disobedient Teaching. Surviving and Creating Change in Education’ by Welby Ings (a New Zealander educator). As much as it is about change in education, it is applicable to change across everything.
Disobedient means a refusal to submit to a higher power or authority. We have disobedient children at home and at school and their behaviour can be frustrating. There can also be disobedience evidence in the workplace. When someone is disobedient, how do we react?
Ings says that disobedience is not a dirty word, it is simply claiming the right to see and respond to the world in a different way. He says that disobedient teaching is what happens when you close your door and try unconventional things because your professional compass tells you that it is right. It doesn’t wait for permission.
In my role, I have many tensions. The tension between the requirements of the Ministry of Education and my knowledge of the effect of workload on teachers. The tension between what we want to implement and initiate and the tick box requirements of the Education Review Office, or parents’ expectations, or boards of trustees. The tension between the latest ‘big thing’ in education and the collective wisdom of teachers who understand the potential implications of these ‘big things’ on children’s learning. Ings states about principals ‘they end up doing things they find morally and philosophically questionable because they are always accountable to someone else. They are controlled by the same fear of failing that everyone in hierarchies experiences. They are afraid to disobey’.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a statement about how I feel about this lovely school, our supportive parents and board of trustees. Sometimes though, we can read or hear something that makes us reflect and review what we do, whether we are disobedient, whether we allow disobedience but more importantly what we don’t do because we are controlled by this fear of failing.
Ings talks about our social editor, that our natural propensity to think disobediently is constrained by something silent and controlling. It is that cautionary voice that says ‘no’ to your ideas because they might sound silly, or they might not work or they may make you look like a fool. It teaches you to not stand out.
How can we harness this disobedience to make changes? Is disobedience in effect creativity? One of the top soft skills employers are now looking for is creativity. If we didn’t have disobedient thinkers, we would be stuck in the dark ages because it is those who refused to submit to a higher power or authority who have sought ways to improve and innovate for the greater good.
How do we encourage productive disobedience? How can we value it? What attitudes do we need to change for disobedience to become part of the culture of ‘the way we do things around here’? How does creativity sit within our school curriculum? Is valuing creativity the overarching tenet under which everything else sits?
Questions, questions. No answers. Lots to think about.
Ings, W. (2017). Disobedient Teaching. Surviving and creating change in education. Dunedin. Otago University Press.
Last Friday we held a mufti day as part of the Colour My Day initiative to show our support for the Muslim community. Thanks to our lovely families we raised $1144.70. Thanks to all of you who showed your support so generously.
Parent Teacher Interviews
These are being held on Wednesday 10 April and Thursday 11 April. Please look out for the information and book a time with your child’s teacher. You will also receive a comments sheet. Please fill that out and email it back to your child’s teacher. It will help them prepare for the interview as well as give an agenda for discussion.
We are all very excited, there is a buzz around the school about the upcoming Easter Fair. Thanks to all of you who have helped your children make Jolly Jars, who sent along some wrapped sweets a few weeks ago, made jams and relishes and who have been busy helping out with the organisation. The organising committee have been working very hard bringing it all together. We can’t wait! Hopefully you’ve told everyone you know to come along, there is something for everyone.
A huge amount of work has gone into preparing the Directory which will be distributed sometime during the next week or so. It is a wonderful initiative which is designed so families can connect with other families.
Messages about Pick Up Arrangements
It would be great if your children were clear about after school instructions before they came to school. However, we know that sometimes emergencies happen and we are happy to pass any changes to the children. You must do that through the office, not by emailing teachers during the day. Teachers do not access their emails during teaching and learning time so it is likely they could miss an important message. Please only contact the office, preferably earlier than 2.55pm if it is not an emergency.