To those in charge of education

I’m currently trying to study a course on gamification. I say trying, because although the course involves only a couple of hours a week I find I’m too tired and busy in the evenings to concentrate on anything outside the work that I need to prepare and/or mark.  You see, I’m a teacher, and I’m starting to apply theory of gamification to what I see around me.

You know what happens if you make a game too hard?  the players learn that it’s not worth the effort, that they’ll never be able to reach the target, and so they give up. I can feel that happening in education.  Those at the top of the leaderboard can see they do well and are spurred to do more, while those way down know they’ll never catch up and have it constantly drummed into them that they’re not good enough.  The rules are being changed so they find it harder and harder and they’re getting disillusioned.

I’m talking of the kids here, but the same thing is happening with teachers: all we seem to hear is that our teaching isn’t good enough, we don’t work long enough hours, we don’t deserve the holidays we get, we’re failing the kids and we’re responsible for their bad behaviour.

And as a result I’m starting to feel that I’m doing it wrong: I’m spending a large proportion of my waking hours either working or doing something work-related, but apparently that isn’t good enough. I can’t give any more than I can, so what’s the point in even trying?  If I’m going to get criticised in the public press by those in charge of education anyway, then why don’t I take all this free time they obviously believe I have and make good use of it?  If I’m going to be judged on a very small part of my job, which can so easily be either misjudged or unrepresentative of my work as a whole, then what’s the point in worrying over inspections?

Yes, we just had around six weeks away from school.  I spent most of that time working on my skills so that I was ready to teach a new topic, and the rest recovering mentally and physically from the demands of my job.  Why did I bother? Because I enjoy what I do and take pride in my work.  But if it’s going to be constantly criticised, if I’m always going to be looking over my shoulder to see what the latest beef against my profession is, then that pride is going to ebb away, and that enjoyment will fade rapidly.

Please, let’s start working together for the sake of the kids, and start being supportive rather than critical.  And to all those who complain about the long holidays teachers get, well you could always get a job as a teacher yourself and enjoy the holidays!  Can’t bear the thought of teaching?  Well then, if you can’t take the pain, don’t complain about the rewards!

As to me, I’m off to watch this week’s lectures on gamification, because I believe in encouraging the kids to do better by finding ways to link it in to games and fun, and use game techniques to produce a better experience in the classroom.  Like providing clear ways for them to see they are making progress, and not continually knocking their confidence and enthusiasm.

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1 Comment

  1. (((((Hugs))))) and good luck honey xx


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