OK this post was written with some trepidation at how well it would be received, but a recent post in an online discussion prompted me to write this. The vast majority of the comments were full of dismay at the school system but praise for their children's previous teachers, and echoed many of my own thoughts, so I felt the need to write this:
Although we have made the decision to deregister our children from your school and educate them ourselves at home, we want you to know that it is not because of anything you have - or have not - done. We know that you truly care about the children in your class and that your motivation is to equip them for a better future. We see that you work ceaselessly and without a fraction of the thanks and recognition that you deserve. We know that the little ones in your care are often the only factor keeping you going.
We also see that your vision for educating these children is seriously hampered by a system that insists on endless planning and assessing, testing, targets, league tables - and that keeps moving the goalposts, with the decision-makers being hopelessly removed from the realities of educating. We know that you are often overburdened with utterly unrealistic workloads, which do a lot to hinder you in the actual hands-on teaching that you love. We have seen that the children who obviously (to us all) need extra help sometimes have to wait for years before being approved for extra help, placing a burden on you and the class, let alone the children who need it.
We removed our children because of the system, not you. Many children flourish at school, and that is thanks in no small way to you and everything you do for them. But many other children just do not fit in the system, and need more individualised attention. Very simply, that is why they are now being educated at home. This business of educating is not for the faint-hearted, and we just want to say: Teacher, you rock!
with love from a Home Educator
When writing letters like this I am always immediately concerned that those reading it will say "well, she's got that wrong" - but from my teaching experience and that of the many other teachers-turned-home-educators that I know, I don't think it's far off. I guess it's just my way of trying to say that the vast majority of teachers are awesome - that it is the system that we have rejected, and not the wonderful people who work in it.