Don’t Look at The Elephant

CC Image courtesy of David Blackwell on Flickr
  • 10-year-old with a brain injury  who was removed from  family due to physical abuse.
  • 11-year-old living  in a  shelter, on the run from mother’s abusive spouse.
  • 8-year-old with an STD
  • 12-year-old rescued from a house fire. The mother and sister  weren’t so lucky.
  • 11-year-old who found her sibling hanging from the backyard hills hoist, a few months after the father was arrested for murdering the child’s mother.
  • 9-year-old who cowered while the family was held in a siege.
  • 8-year-old who hid behind a tree as Martin Bryant shot people at Port Arthur.
  • 6-year-old whose sister was burned in a horrific car accident.
  • 7- year-old who visited his father in jail each weekend and wanted him home for Christmas.

These are just some of the children I’ve  taught  (details changed to prevent identification). Every teacher has stories they could share.

Domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, crime, trauma, tragic accidents, mental illness, misadventure, sickness – this is the world many of our children inhabit.

Meanwhile, teachers and principals are consumed with knowing our impact,  ensuring every child has a year’s growth for a year’s education, that no one is coasting, that standards aren’t slipping, that our impact is measured and our effect size is greater than 0.4.

And our education reformers focus on no excuses policiesmandatory phonics tests, literacy and numeracy tests for teachers, and how to deliver education on a budget.