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Why I left Education.

*(This is a different post to normal but something I feel very passionate about and something which I feel needs more light shed on)

There are a multitude of reasons why I left my job as a teaching and learning assistant. My dream was never to work in education per say and opportunities have come up which mean I can now pursue a different type of career. However during my short 3 year career inside mainstream education I have been deeply saddened but also scared by the direction our education system is going and the impact this will have on our children.

I would describe schools as being a sausage factory, pushing out perfectly uniformed sausages with all deviations discarded or ignored, and sadly this seems to only be getting worse. No two humans are the same and this includes children. Yet our system expects every child from every background to learn and grow in exactly the same way. We plaster the values of diversity and inclusivity all over our school walls whilst yet expecting every child to be a uniformed robot. This government are now trying to take away the professionalism and skills which our teachers have by making them follow uniformed schemes where every child has to learn the same thing, on the same day and with the expectation they will all move on at the same speed. Every teacher is expected to say the same thing and use the same resources with no scope to use their professional judgement or to create individualised learning paths for their students. For me being neurodivergent I know how damaging this will be for my fellow autistics and is in fact not the way to educate any child.

I feel so passionately that this approach to education is taking away all love and enjoyment out of learning and it breaks my heart how this will impact the next generations. So often these days all our institutions and systems seem to be trying to fit everyone into the same box. Everything is decided by those far removed from the reality of life on the ground. I think people who create these blanket schemes and ideas are so far removed from the everyday people who actually use these services. I don't know what the answer is- I understand the need for framework and guidelines, it's important that everyone in all areas of the country gets a fair deal however I don't think these uniform schemes do this. Even now with all these frameworks for example in mental health services- so many people included myself have been failed, abused and left traumatised which I am sure isn't in the NHS framework!! So therefore this isn't a question of keeping people safe and giving them the same opportunities, this is a question of making systems which can be ran by robots, taking away skills and professionalism and looking for the 'easiest and cheapest' answers. And while I completely understand the cost of living crisis (life is a struggle at the moment!!) young people's education and people's health shouldn't be put in jeopady. Well not even just jeopady but down right disregarded and value of money put higher than peoples lives and futures.

For me when it came to the education system, I simply could not take it anymore. I couldn't stand there and call myself an advocate for neurodiversity and mental health, I couldn't talk about valuing inclusivity, kindness and respect and yet work within a system which was just so broken. The failings in terms of young autistic people was just enormous and even for staff who wanted to help guidelines and rules are so strict there is nothing they could do. Its crazy to see what is happening and worrying about where this will eventually leave us. So much more needs to be done about the further institutionlisation we heading for. Children are all different and individual and don't (and shouldn't) all be expected to learn the same thing, on the same day at the same speed. Why are we adding ceilings to children's learning and expecting conformism similar to that of the insitutions in the 1800's.

Campaigning for educational change isn't something I have ever really been involved in before but having watched the love of the job not only be taken away from myself but from those whom I love and who have loved this job for longer than I have been alive shows the real damage which is being caused. Children deserve better, teachers deserve better, families deserve better.

Together we have to make a difference.

Something has to be done.

Above are some of the gifts I made/got for my class <3


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