As a teacher and the wife of a teacher, I am surrounded by the politics of education.
Today I read an article about a family who are being taken to court because of their refusal to pay the fine for a term-time holiday.
I then read the vitriolic comments beneath the article, the majority of which, interspersed with the odd person who understood the issue, blamed the teachers.
This is nonsensical. Do people honestly believe teachers sit in their staff room, playing Catch the Whiteboard Marker, and passing laws on term-time holidays? It’s the government; go moan at them, or the travel companies.
When teachers moaned at the government (ie: went on strike) on behalf of education, I was astounded by the myriad complaints I read. Not one person said ‘this is outrageous, my child is missing a day’s education.’ Instead, they all said ‘where’s my childcare?’
I have kids myself so I empathise, but what’s really important here? Not one parent seemed to have grasped the reasons for the strike.
These are the same people who often moan about training days, presumably more concerned over childcare than having teachers who are trained in spotting, for example, child abuse.
Interestingly, I read not one Facebook comment when the fire service went on strike.
Another, frankly tiresome, gem of the anti-teacher brigade, is they get long holidays. Indeed they do, but they also work during them. Each day my husband leaves the house at 7am and returns by 7pm. He works until 10pm each night, except Saturday, when he’ll work in the morning. That’s his choice and he enjoys it.
I wouldn’t dream of deriding someone else’s job unless I had researched it fully. It’s a shame some parents cannot afford teachers the same courtesy.
After all, if they wanted longer holidays, then they should have trained to be one.
Teachers can’t take their kids out of school to go on holiday. If they announced they were, thereby leaving their students to miss lessons, parents would be rightfully incensed.
Education should be the heart of the matter, and we should all be on the same side.
Verity Lush is a 36-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth. She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements. Follow her on Twitter @lushnessblog