... am going to be real about peoples agendas
.... for the first time ever!!
I really have never been that person. I don't know why, my parents call me liberal, I personally think its because I'm just not that fond of ruffling feathers. Some of my previous line managers would beg to differ with that sentiment, but I honestly think that my whole life, trouble has found me, and if I actually say something, you really have pushed me to the point of no return! So whenever there has been a topic that might rear a bone of contention, I have often shied away. Until last Wednesday.
Let me give you the back story...
For an ICT teacher, I'm not that great at Twitter, it's not that I cant use it, it's just that I'm a creature of habit and I am just used to scrolling through FB and my ultimate social media hang spot is Instagram. I just really buy into a picture painting 1000 words (even if you do get the occasionally eyeful you didn't bargain for e.g. a la Rob Kardash revenge porn on Chyna, yup, I like Insta for the instant celeb trash too, I'm not a very sensible person, which anyone who has met my Husband will back up, because you cant be married to him and still be deemed sensible, another tale for another blog.)
I use my twitter for educational purposes, having completed my second post grad last year, I have to say that Twitter is more efficient at providing up to date information, news and DfE documents to my hand at my convenience than any reference library or online eJournal, just be sure to navigate the fake news and personal views like a boss, and your halfway there.
I read a rather interesting piece by The Independent reporting that a survey from the Rummeymede Trust and Nasuwt (a teachers union) that had found that BME teachers 'were more likely to suffer from ill health as a result of work'. A lot of issues were touched upon in this article, that genuinely interested me, so I retweeted it.
Next thing I know, I had a tweet asking to be added by a researcher for the BBC so that they could DM me and long story short, there was to be a debate the next day on national TV regarding the lack of ethnic diversity in classroom, and "Would I like to be a contributor?"
Anyway, I'm not going to go into it too much, but it was awesome, I think I came across well, and it has ignited an flame within myself to stand up and be an advocate for the right fight!
But I will share a snippet of it with you...
The problem only came when a freelance journalist from BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat contacted me for an interview on the back of the initial chat that I had with the researcher.
Now I am not going to lie, I'm not exactly media trained, and what I thought was a informal chat turned into a very misquoted article. I mentioned two experiences that I had had as a teacher where negative racial language had been used, from both sides of the equation. A white Mother using the "n-word" in my presence, and a black Father telling me that I had only been employed as a "face" to deal with him. Now I put both of them in their place, telling the Mother that I would not tolerate any negative racial language at anytime, and the Father that opinions such as those will always set our race back, as last time I checked, I had got the job because of my qualifications and as I was the best of 6 candidates who had been shortlisted.
I don't really want to waste to much breath on the article because, I hated it. I hated it mainly for the title, but the contents didn't exactly paint me in a rational light. I'm going to play a quick game with you, its called spot the difference, one with the initial title and the title after I made a complaint.
Yup, I lol'd too! After a morning of trying to persuade new BME teachers into the profession, I had apparently immediately done an interview about how teaching is fundamentally racist. The agenda that I wanted to get across about the need for role models was contorted to match Newsbeat's agenda, that a black teacher felt schools were racist [insert eyeroll emoji]. Despite numerous emails, they claim that the story is true to what I said. I'm going to be the first to say, I do not believe that that sentiment had ever left my mouth, mainly because I truly have had some intense racist incidents in my life, but, my job hasn't felt like one of them. Uneducated actions and views, yes, but fundamentally racism? Nope!
So my militant stance is very simple, people will always have their own agenda to push, and they will often base it on what obvious identifiers they can take from you and sometimes, you can be used as a part of their arsenal, to further their stance and it doesn't matter to them what you stand for, as long as they get what they need out of it.
I am proud of who I am, my home and work situation, and do not throw around the term "racist" easily, but when I do, it will be on MY terms, not anyone else's, because many Queens before me who fought for my rights, and I will continue to do the same for future generations, but I am not "one black teacher". In regards to my career, I am a teacher, who is black and a lot of other things. I am compassionate, patient, a visionary and excitable. I am embarrassing when I dance around at break time, I am a pain in the butt if you aren't doing what I am asking, I care, I listen, I make pupils accountable. I am the first to volunteer to do the staff act at the talent show and most likely to watch the kids at a sporting event after school. I am a role model. You chose the wrong story of my teaching career to define me by; so these are my words, that can not be contorted, misquoted or used for a shite news story... I am a ROLE MODEL ...
And that, is all I have to say on that messy chapter.