Pedagogic practice and semantics aside, call us teachers. lecturers, educators, tutors, facilitators of learning; for most of us the calling is consistent – to try to make a difference.
Last night I attended the University of Wales Trinity St. David’s Swansea Student Union Awards. Unbeknown to me I had been shortlisted in two listings: UWTSD Swansea Academic Member of the Year 2019 and the UWTSD Swansea Feedback Champion 2019. I am humbled and thankful. Listening into the nominee statements for both staff and students across the categories was motivating and inspiring, reminding me, as we move towards the close of the academic year, of the passion, the commitment, the vision and the focus of our learners and staff. A strong affirmative nod too to the incredible environmental and social activists we have in our midst, on our Programmes, in our Student Union.
David Brooks (2019) talks of moments of annunciation, when a new passion is silently conceived and we are forever after entranced. Learning is my ‘passion’ and the ‘golden thread’ that has literally sewn my life together through a portfolio of careers, adventure and experiences. Yet I am cognisant that this passion has itself been ignited and fuelled by a great number of people, who have inspired, influenced, impacted or ‘invested’ in me. I am fiercely protective of ‘Education’, that it is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, to our children. I am committed 100% to fight for an Education system in the UK, in Wales, that is better resourced and highly prized across all sectors.
The OECD recognise, that in our rapidly changing VUCA world, the success of nations, communities, and individuals are linked, more than ever before, to how they adapt to change, learn, and share knowledge.
“Investing in and strengthening a country’s education sector is key to the development of any country and its people. Without investment in quality education, progress on all other development indicators will stagnate” (UNESCO, 2015).
Let’s not brush the reality however under the carpet. Working in education in the UK is challenging and pressured. We enjoy and celebrate the highs of our endeavours, but let’s not mask over the severe funding issues that besiege the sector, with more and more resources being diverted from front-line delivery. Whilst we can at times, take stock, be proud of our system, our people, our learners, there are problems. In the UK, in Wales, our nurseries, primary and secondary schools, FE and HE organisations, work in challenging circumstances, in ageing buildings, with committed staff even personally topping up on classroom resources. This puts at stake, Wales, and the UK’s future as a successful, dynamic and prosperous nation.For now, I remain humbled, and I thank my students for their kind words. I am certain my golden thread will pull through to shape my future work, research and campaigns in education. I just ask that we all reflect on how education has helped us, assisted us in our careers, served some greater purpose, and consider our role in its sustainability and its improvement. That all parents, learners, employees, businesses, indeed, all citizens – should care more about education. Read https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education/huge-sums-allocated-education-wales-15827055 for some of the more detailed debates that underpin funding allocations in Wales if you are interested. References Brooks, D. (2017) ‘Have you had your annunciation moment yet?’ [Ted Talk]. Available at: https://ideas.ted.com/have-you-had-your-annunciation-moment-yet/ [Accessed 23rd May 2019] UNESCO (2015) ’17 ways education influences new 17 global goal’ [online]. Available at: https://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/17-ways-education-influences-new-17-global-goals [Accessed 23rd May 2019]