It's 1977 and I'm queueing down a cobbled street with great anticipation. It's a cinema in a small town and one of the great imaginative fantasies is about to be shown for the first time. For any kid, this is the big event and for many it will stay with them for a very long,long time.
Years later, in a 'galaxy' far,far away;they have become a schoolteacher and teach in the same small town.
In the film, entitled 'A new hope' , a rebel alliance gathers to take on the might of the Empire. In the classroom, it becomes a rather good media study for disaffected boys.
Education 2013:battle lines are being drawn and we are placed on a war footing. A dystopian empire creates a climate of fear and calls for rigour and aims to crush weakness. The Emperor sends out storm troopers to divide and oppress those who speak out. The Empire builds a Death Star and threatens any planet with destruction if they do not submit to the power and authority that it invested in itself. There is no reasoning and no logic to its existence but the Death Star is all powerful and will consume you...
And that's where the fairy tale ends. Because you already saw what was coming and could see that the metaphor is too simple and too reactionary.Where's the evidence? Why is he simplifying everything in a childish way? What about some references to studies or research?
Well, if Education is to change into something that can transform all young lives and empower those kids who are not born into favour and fortune; we must be empowered ourselves.
Because we have become the Death Star. I am the Death Star. You are the Death Star. We walk its corridors everyday;we follow the same routines and follow its commands;we accept the comfort that it provides and do not resist its contradictions.
Sorry if you're are already part of the rebel alliance and reading this. May be the force be with you. However, a significant proportion of the teaching profession have already accepted their fate.Yes,they are committed,hard working and effective but they can also be complacent,defeatist and cynical. Who would blame them? Initiative after initiative.Change after change.Attack after attack.
The greatest change in Education would be to recapture some of the belief we should have in ourselves. We must destroy the Death Star.
Who can we turn to? Is it our wise leaders who can make the ultimate sacrifice and break from the tyranny of Government interference? It could be so.
Is it our young Jedi new to the profession and filled with the Force of expectation and innovation? It could be so.
But I'd like to turn to the others. The forgotten;the seen-it-all before;the disenfranchised and the battle weary. Without their collaboration, we will not destroy the Death Star. Teachers who are stuck in the middle and are serving their time. I want the mavericks; the rogues; the cynical and the disillusioned. I want the brow beaten;the misinformed and the isolated.
Without these teachers our efforts are diluted. We can not leave them behind.
They are our friends and our colleagues and they have just as much a right to inspire or influence young people as anyone else.
So I return to my initial fantasy(no pedagogical evidence provided):
My favourite character from the film in 1977 was a self interested,emotionally bankrupt and egotistical man.He was not to be trusted and boasted of his own selfishness and a survival instinct that always looked after number one. He was a rogue and a cynic who dismissed any talk of revolution.
In the final sequence of the film, it is down to a young idealist to destroy the Death Star on his own.However, the forces of Evil are strong and it is a long shot to take advantage of their weaknesses.All seems lost; when to his unexpected rescue a spaceship appears and fires on the enemy and gives the young idealist a clear run on the target.
It is the Maverick that saves the day. He has realised that his interest his best served if the mission is successful. He has calculated that by participating there is greater chance of everyone succeeding.He has worked out that through collaboration they can achieve much more.
In every cynic there is secret idealist. The Death Star is destroyed.
The teaching profession has its opportunity. We can not leave anyone behind.
"You're all clear, kid, now let's *blow* this thing and go home! "