Do you ever get that ‘I wish I’d been a teacher’ moment?
I get it, sometimes – usually at my seven-year-old son’s ‘sharing assemblies’. Hundreds of children fill the school hall, which is decorated by supersized creations – paintings, mobiles, 3-D shapes. Parents squeeze in at the back, teachers line the sides, using emphatic sign language, fingers to lips, to keep this jiggling, fidgety mass quiet and seated.
The headteacher welcomes everyone and cracks a few jokes. On stage, Year 2 pass around a microphone with excruciating slowness, making mostly inaudible statements about a recent school trip, to parents’ collective, ill-concealed delight.
The older children are gracious. They are used to this. Everyone gets a turn here – it’s built in the fabric of the school. The assemblies are all delivered under the motto over the stage that reads ‘Live, love, learn and be happy’. This order is important and not coincidental. Headteacher Rachel Crouch – a lifelong subscriber to New Internationalist, from whom you will hear more shortly – has always made hers an inclusive, welcoming school with equity at its heart.
But in this magazine we look at how the noble endeavour that is education – the kind that gives you the ‘wish I’d been a teacher moment’ – is under threat from powerful business interests, while introducing you to those working to take things in a different direction.
Elsewhere in the September edition, we unpick why stories that claim to reveal a biological basis to differences between men and women are so persistently popular and learn about how private corporations in Peru are hiring out the police to do their dirty work.
Hazel Healy for the New Internationalist co-operative.