In recent months, I have been growing increasingly concerned about what the Big Bad Progressive (BBP) has been up to. I have heard via the blogosphere that the BBP has ripped all the tradition out of schools, prioritised stories over non fiction, refused to tell children anything ever, focused on fun rather than learning, replaced all textbooks with iPads and the phrase “just google it”, allowed the most outrageous behaviour because of its “soft bigotry of low expectations” and besmirched the purity of Systematic Synthetic Phonics with methods that are not government approved. Clearly, this can’t be allowed to continue. So, I came up with a plan. I would ask around a bit, delve a little deeper, and see if I could locate the BBP in my area. Perhaps I could do everyone a favour and kill it off?
I started with my own children’s schools. I quizzed my children about whether their teachers told them stuff, or whether they were forced to float around discovering it all the time. My children confirmed that, while there was the occasional opportunity to explore their own ideas in a creative manner, mostly school was still just teachers telling them stuff, and then getting them to do the stuff they had just been told. Ah but did they have fun, I wanted to know? Well, sometimes, especially in the last lesson of the term, but mostly it was just plain old school. Next I checked at the preschool I help to run, and to be fair I did find some of the 2 and 3 year olds playing. But then I spotted a practitioner teaching the children to count as they played, so that is definitely not where the BBP is hiding. And then I realised. It came to me in a moment of sudden clarity. The real reason that I couldn’t find the BBP must be because the BBP is me!
So, here’s the thing. If I am the BBP (which is clearly the case, since several people have told me that I am “a Progressive” in the past), then there is *definitely no need to worry*. Because I am really rather nice in real life. I have absolutely no objection to other people teaching in whatever way they like (although I’d rather they didn’t insist I have to teach exactly like them). People definitely don’t need to read my books, since they might get infected by my BBP-ness, but reading books is easily avoided by not buying them. And if you ever happen to attend one of my training sessions, then remember that you honestly don’t have to use all those practical strategies that I shared, especially if you think they are not “no excuses”-y enough. And now that the mystery of the BBP is solved, I can sign off and spend half term with my kids. Have a lovely break, and see you in November. 🙂