I’ll preface this post by saying that I am a music teacher. I have some knowledge about what I am going to write about. Because I do it. And I see it. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert – but I do know this thing, you see, because it’s what I do. I have enormous bias.
Right… that’s out of the way.
So the NSW Labour Government, if they win, are going to spend lots more money on State Education. I can’t tell you how much, and quite frankly, I can’t be bothered looking it up, because I don’t really trust the people saying it. But it’s more money. Great. Love that.
And they are going to spend that money on providing specialist teachers in schools. Hooray. Love specialist teachers. They know lots of stuff on one thing. And they seem to teach it well. This is not me criticising generalist teachers, oh no sirree, but a good specialist teacher is great for a school.
The specialist teachers that every school NEEDS, apparently, will be NUMERACY and LITERACY teachers.
Because, despite ALL the evidence that has come out of studies and think-tanks (blah blah blah. Consultants. Money spent on looking at stuff by people who have long since stopped teaching. Blah some more.) do NOT make these specialists music, art, drama, creative teachers.
Our numeracy and literacy rates are dropping in this country. And that has got nothing to do with the standards of teachers, in my humble opinion. It has everything to do with the lack of ‘other stuff’ taught in schools. Subjects that create human beings. Subjects that promote out-of-the-box thinking. That encourage self-belief. That make children work both independently, trusting themselves and their thoughts, but also make children work with others. Subjects that expand the brain.
I am so frustrated. Because these sorts of discussions aren’t happening. Or if they are, they are being ignored.
I see the difference music makes. I am one teacher. I see the skills and the trust. The self-belief. The fun. The laughter. The levelled playing-field. I see the shy kids speak. The self-doubters stand proudly and sing. The fidgets be still.
I am all for numeracy and literacy. Just not at the expense of the creative arts. (With apologies to SloMo…. sorry, that’s sort-of your line, isn’t it?)