In our last Sunday evening Twitter chat of Term 3, the #aussieED team decided to explore this question and find out what our PLN think about the way that teachers and the education system as a whole are portrayed by both politicians and the media. The chat revolved around 7 questions ranging from 'Why do teachers & teaching seem to have a PD problem?' through to 'How might we change public opinion about teachers and teaching?'.
The general consensus from everyone involved in the chat was that there is definitely a lot of negative press around education at the moment. Teachers from different settings from all around Australia and the world were chiming in to have their say on why they believe there is a problem. A few of the responses explored the following:
- 'Because it's a job that everyone thinks they can do because they've attended school. Plus the 'shock stories' generate good 'outrage' clicks despite all we do to challenge them.' - Matthew Beggs @MatthewBeggs
- 'It was the profession (teaching and nursing) that you went into when you didn't get the marks to do anything else' - Belinda Faulkner @BelindaTeaches
- 'I thinks it's an issue of EVERYONE has been to school so everyone thinks they know what we do. I feel our professional bodies represent us well. I do know we try to correct misconceptions a lot, so non-teachers tune out our "complaints" about our image.' - Courtney @ComfortDisturb
- 'Salacious, sensational horrors sell more papers and get more click-throughs . We need to tell our successes loudly and proudly at every opportunity- not to each other but to everyone, especially children and parents who can be our biggest advocates.' -
Justine Poidevin @JusPoidevin
- 'Teachers may have a PR problem because many in our communities do not truly understand what we do each day...beyond curriculum ‘delivery’...so many roles in the course of a single day! I wonder how many see us as servant leaders?' -
Chris Quinn ~ #OneWord2018 - Gratitude @ChrisQuinn64
One resounding similarity between tweets that I was reading was that, as educators, we sometimes don't share the amazing things that we do because it can be looked at as 'bragging'. This is a mentality that we need to try to get out of. I know that I used to think twice about writing that blog or uploading another photo to Twitter that showcased something that I was proud of in my classroom - but why? Why should we stop sharing the amazing things that are happening in our classrooms? Why aren't schools doing more to share the successes of their teachers as much as they do their students? Why don't local papers have an 'Educator of the Month' award just like they do 'Sports Person of the Month'??
There are lots of opportunities for teachers to have their achievements showcased, but at the moment these seem to be very 'in house' - teachers awards that are not mentioned in mainstream media, Twitter chats that are only attended by educators, etc. How might we work together to try to change things in the future?!
In the words of my edu-hero, Dave Burgess, be your own PR department and start sharing the magic that is created in your classroom!