Playground Fights

So… This week on Twitter has been interesting.

It’s long struck me as odd how highly divided the education sphere can be. This is nowhere clearer than on Twitter. Whether it’s the limited characters, lack of face-to-face interaction or genuine lack of empathy, the website often leads to impatient, circular arguments about issues within our schools (or out, depending on which axe is being grinded). 

At this point, I should note that I myself am not innocent of this. I started out two years ago as an angry, quick to respond tweeter who liked nothing more than sitting in a “discussion” for five hours about the correct use of an adjective. However, I would like to think I have mellowed in my old (don’t laugh) age.

Recently, it’s clear to see that the division is increasing. Educators are more often found at each other’s throats than not. EduTwitter has moved from being a platform which promotes our wonderful career, to one which causes upset, annoyance, potentially risks future careers and, in some cases, strays into libel.

So, seeing as I’m not in a position to physically bang heads together, I find myself having to write what I would say in person. I live in the vague hope that it will resonate with at least one reader and make a difference. Goodness knows we need it.

Despite everything that has happened to me so far, I remain confident in my conviction that teaching is the greatest career in the world. There is no job more fulfilling or worthwhile that I can find on any job website. As we all know, and many complain about, there are forces (people?) out there that, while not necessarily wanting to, change that. We currently sit amidst a workload and retention crisis. We are having budgets squeezed left, right and centre. Our colleagues are having jobs taken away because schools cannot afford their wages any more. Children are being identified as suffering from mental health issues more and more frequently…

…And you are arguing. On. Twitter.

There is a chance, for all of us, that we could be found by one of our pupils (however slim that may be). Consider, if you will, how they would react if they read your tweets. The values that you look to instil in the young people you teach – would they recognise those same values in you? Would they look at you the same way tomorrow, in the knowledge of what you freely post online? Or would they question the image they have built up in their head? Would your actions make them ashamed of you?

Grow up. Suck it up. There are real problems out there than need fixing first, before our petty squabbles.

EduTwitter, we have work to do.

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