So, reinvention as a History teacher, a teacher of History; the learner from history. That will never be the case.
My wife is concerned by my blog. According to her, employers will check my social media accounts for inappropriate thoughts. I know that she is right, but firmly believe that the practice is wrong. It’s the Thought Police stuff of Orwell. It’s the blue-print, the rule book, that every dictator employs to win over the adoration of their subjects. In my new adventure, I am teaching about Hitler’s rise to power and Elizabeth 1’s success at holding on to power. They both used the same tactics – secret police, intelligence networks, suspicion and distrust. For those who wished to survive, it was important to keep stum! Don’t let anyone know your thoughts. Thoughts are bad and ought to be kept to oneself; that’s why they are called thoughts as opposed to speeches. I struggle with that.
I wouldn’t say that I am opinionated, only that I enjoy, truly enjoy, discussion and debate. That’s not popular in my country at the moment. The continuing Brexit negotiations are filled with warnings that the decision for everything has already been decided because it is the will of the people. Whoopee, fuppee, do! We have allowed elected politicians to take our vote as a signal of acquiescence for everything they now decide to do.
It should never be allowed to happen, but it always does. People give up the power over their own lives in favour of allowing someone else to take charge. We have to be told what to do and how to think and what to think about. And, no matter how much we moan about it, we accept that others know best.
I was sitting in the staffroom, the day after being told that a continued contract would depend on me being willing to accept a lower daily rate. I was on an unheard of free period and I overheard two female teachers moaning about the expectations of the job. In short, they were complaining about the fact that they were expected to be working, working, working each moment that they were there and each moment when they were not. I have been keeping my own counsel on this in places other than my blog.
I rarely join in with conversations that other teachers have, keeping myself to myself. I am aware of my increasing age, new status (none) and being an outsider who really didn’t require getting to know. I would be gone before they knew it. But I liked my new school. It had that recognisable trait of actually appearing like a school that I would have once known. It didn’t reek of corporate sanitiser. As a way of making conversation, I joined in with my views on education. It didn’t take long to see the fear in their eyes. A conversation takes two or more participants and they were not participating. I remembered what my wife had told me. I stopped talking.
Power dressing hadn’t crossed the shores of the Humber and neither had the wave of academy-led conquest. Another outpost of reason was before me, as long as I didn’t say too much.