You come to a ravine. Everyone tells you that they know the best way to get across the ravine. And they tell you like a million different things. You desperately want to get across the ravine, because on the other side you can relax and enjoy the journey. But the ravine is very wide and the edge where you have to jump off is crumbly and unstable. Some people come along to check whether you can get across the ravine. They have a piece of rope, but they’ve decided that they won’t tell you what length it is. Now they want to watch as you try to get across the ravine. You can take a long run up, and jump across the ravine, trusting that you won’t fall into it. Or you can beg the people to tell you what length their rope is and whether it will get you across the ravine. What would you do?
Ofsted don’t govern my life: even at preschool, the ‘quit’ button is always there. But I meet an awful lot of teachers, and pretty much every single one of them says the same thing. They want to build bridges across the ravine, not beg to know the length of the rope. They want a partnership in which we all support children, but they also want to be left alone to actually teach them. I genuinely don’t get why we don’t offer praise, rather than censure. Support, instead of judgement. No one wants to beg to know the length of a stupid piece of rope, or whether it will get them across a ravine. Why don’t we all just focus on filling in the bloody ravine rather than measuring how well everyone gets across it? It would be a much more productive use of our time.
And on that note, I’ll head back out to my allotment, to focus on filling in the ravine with compost, vegetables, and flowers. (Well, not literally, it’s dark.)