Anarchy & the EYLF Pirates

Refuse. Resist. Rebuild.

We need to talk …

AEP 30 06 15

How do I feel about the Assessment and Rating process leading up to it? I feel pressured. I feel rushed. I feel pushed. I’m a professional early childhood teacher, educator, leader. And I have this pressure placed upon me by external forces to comply with the wishes of others.

Yeah I know – there is always someone above us telling us what to do – BUT – this is something else.

I’m a dedicated leader and manager and I honestly want to create the most amazing and wonderful service possible. But all this takes time. It cannot be done over night. I’ve been at this service since January and I spent my time getting to know the families, the team, the children, and deciding upon my plans of action. My QIP was being woven, my thoughts gathered, when our letter arrived. Not even 3 months into this role, and they are coming.

I am sure most of you know and understand just how much pressure there is, no matter the circumstances. I feel like I am drowning in it. It shouldn’t be like this.

The more I reflect upon this, the more offended I become. 22 years as an early childhood care and education professional and I have to have some unfamiliar official coming to assess my competence as a professional; my abilities as a leader and innovator; the performance of my service against a book of words and against my neighbours?

I have attended professional development all throughout my career and I have always been reflective in my approach to teaching. I have purchased and borrowed countless books on pedagogy. I network and have a fantastic group of professionals who support and challenge my thinking.

I am certain I know what an amazing early learning service should and could be. I’ve been working every day and thought regularly, if not each night about this for 22 years.

So, now I have a government appointed official coming out to tell me, my team, the families of our service community, not to mention the entire country, what they think of my service.

It feels like impending doom. It’s like your partner or significant other or manager has said “We need to talk later” and then they leave you hanging. And hanging.  And hanging.  And. Hanging.  On. And. On. They give you month’s time frame. Then you wait each day once the month begins, waiting for the call. Will it be today? Nope. Might be tomorrow? Nope. Ok, the next day? Nope. Aaaaaaaaaah! Just fucking call damn it!

And this is meant to be a warm and friendly process?

They come. They judge. They publish.

Fuck you.

 

Le Chat Noir

© Anarchy & the EYLF Pirates 2015

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6 comments on “We need to talk …

  1. Lucy Shepherd
    July 1, 2015

    thank god someone like you has the courage to express her thoughts. Seems like in the rush to gain professional status, early childhood professionals are being treated like criminals out on parole: ‘show me that you’re doing the right thing or you’ll be in trouble!’ Where’s the respect for all the study and experience? Accreditation now seems like something you have to do if you’d done something wrong; I wonder how many educators avoid activities in the fear that it may count against them in accreditation? What a terrible shame.

  2. Melinda
    July 1, 2015

    right on!!

  3. yrrw
    July 1, 2015

    Yes, it is odd that we talk a lot about respecting children, and work hard at that, when this process of assessment is so disrespectful to us. If I had to implement a process of assessment it would be more akin to an ongoing mentoring role being in place between a local evaluator and a number of services they worked with longer term to improve practice and perform evaluations that were sensitive to context and available resources. And yes, I suspect this would be more expensive than the current system, but it would also be more effective, as it would do more than surveillance and grading.

  4. Karen Green
    July 6, 2015

    There is a niggling discord that exists for me when attempting to marry together the philosophical underpinnings of the EYLF and the NQF. To be fair, perhaps not the NQF so much as the accompanying NQS and A & R process.
    The EYLF is infused with ideals that embrace the celebration of diversity. It encourages educators/services to form respectful, collaborative partnerships with, and in, their community; responding to their local socio-cultural context. As a consequence of the introduction of the EYLF, we should be seeing the development of greater diversity in service provision as educators/services seek to meet the needs and aspirations of the families and children within their local context. The EYLF provides just enough ‘scaffolding’ to allow services to construct programs that reflect the uniqueness of their context. Unfortunately, what was given to us with one hand (the EYLF), was then swiftly taken away by another (the NQS). The EYLF assumes and/or credits EC educators with the capacity to create ‘quality’ programs for their local community whilst the NQS doubts our professional competency.

    When we begin to participate in the discourse of ‘standards’ as prescribed by the NQS, we become ensnared in the bureaucratic act of chronicling ‘sameness’ and ‘uniformity’. The innovative art of tailoring programs to meet the needs of ‘the local context’ becomes subservient to measuring and comparing against standard criteria that honour homogeny. I am firmly of the belief that the NQS is falling far short of its intended goal! What represents ‘quality’ across multiple contexts can never be uniform in nature!

    If I could wield my magic wand, I would pull the plug on the NQS and A & R process (the bath water) and gladly watch them gurgle down the drain while keeping a hold on the NQF (the baby). In essence, I would retain the ‘guiding’ framework but remove the process that fosters ‘standardisation’. Measuring and judging the work of professionals through a process representative of a ‘power over’ relationship (love a bit of Follett!) is not the way to improve quality. It only breeds anguish, frustration, antagonism and contempt.
    But how do we ensure quality is achieved in services that are performing less than desirably? I would like to see the current ‘Assessors’ employed by our regulatory authorities replaced by ‘Pedagogical Consultants’ with qualifications, experience and longevity in the ECE field. They should be hands-on consultants (not bureaucrats!) who work collaboratively with services; investing in a ‘power with’ relationship to improve service quality.

    “To lead people, walk behind them” – Lao Tzu. Simple, right? 

  5. Sam
    October 28, 2015

    An incideous disrespectful process that needs to be abolished.

  6. tired of this
    November 18, 2015

    … and then they come and it’s not even on the days that you work in the centre. So you are judged based on your teaching partner and no one thinks that this is an issue!

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