Refuse. Resist. Rebuild.
I have so much swirling through my mind, and it’s been swirling for months if not a year or more. I’ve been quiet, as you have all noticed. I have not known how to put these feeling wordy swirls into phrases, sentences and paragraphs for you. I didn’t know how to paint a picture of what I see; of what I feel. I thought it important to try though, both for myself and for you.
I’m watching you.
We are all watching you.
Your colleagues, your managers and supervisors, your current employer and your future employer, your mentor and advisor, your trainer and assessor, your teacher, the consultant running the next workshop or conference you attend, and your assessment and compliance officer.
They all have eyes resting upon you.
Everything you do and say leaves an imprint; an imprint on the internet which doesn’t go away. And an imprint upon someone’s being. A hurtful word, a dismissive statement, a broad sweeping judgement – they all define you, as we watch …
… but they also define us.
You define me.
You either compliment me, or cause me harm.
You see, you are an early childhood educator, like me. You were once a child care worker, qualified or unqualified, trained or untrained. But when the National Quality Framework (NQF) was born, we were transformed, in name, into educators.
Educators who educate.
Educators who educate children, but also themselves and their colleagues.
This expectation of educators is woven into the NQF as well as the Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics.
Educators are who we are.
We are no longer workers who work, caregivers who give care. When we became educators, we held up our heads in pride. We had a bit more of a strut to our walk. We had a purpose beyond the 9-5 of our daily lives. We were given a literary promotion. We were given a title.
It was hoped that this title; this promotion of duty would give us respect; a renewed sense of purpose; a professional identity.
And for some it has been well deserved. You earned it, so flaunt it baby.
But for others of us, it hasn’t been. For some of us, this title has given us not a renewed sense of purpose, but an arrogance; a sense of entitlement over others.
They bring us down.
They make us ugly.
They make us scared.
They make us ignorant.
They make us bullies, and victims.
Sadly, when I look out and see us in our professional networks – I see an ocean of people standing upon soap-boxes … all shouting and gesticulating wildly – screaming their sermons about why their god is the only god; their way is the best way; their truth is the only truth … I can hear them getting louder and louder as they try to raise their voice above all the others, so that their voice is the only voice of right in a sea of wrong. I often feel as though I’m walking through this ocean of soap boxes looking at people’s knees, hearing them screaming at one another … Noise and knees. I feel so overwhelmed, disappointed and left out, once again.
I used to stand upon a soap box. I stepped down, or rather I was pushed off with my fellow Pirates. We found each other and we built Anarchy, and navigated our way forward.
I’m not sure though, how much change there has been since we started this voyage. It seems to be a revolving door.
I watch a bit of reality TV. I’m not committed to any one particular show to be honest, and I am more of a dabbler, but I quite like the voyeurism and the mindlessness of it … And I cannot help but compare discussions on Facebook groups to episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I see the same attitudes – the same assumptions, the attacks, the superficiality, the insecurity, the drama and the carrying on, the he said – she said – they said, the look at me, the I’m better than you …
Is this who we are?
Ranting and raving narcissists?
Or are we professionals?
If we are professionals, how do we define professional behaviour? Because right now, we are on show – front and centre. We parade ourselves and our practice for all to see on the pages of Facebook. We are watched as we perform. Just like I passed judgement upon the housewives, others are passing judgement upon us. Not just you. But also me. All of us. We are all guilty by association.
I beg you to follow the Golden Rule; abide by the Law of Reciprocity. Do unto others.
How would you want to be treated?
How would you want to be guided and supported?
How would you want to be nurtured?
Treat all your professional colleagues like you would the children within your care: with careful consideration and respect.
How would you guide and mentor a new colleague at your workplace? A student on practicum placement? How would you treat a house guest?
Assist the collective ‘us’ in creating a culture of professional belonging. Embrace one another. Open up your heart and mind to the other ways of doing that are not wrong because they are not your ways. Build each other up, even when our thinking doesn’t always align.
Stop ripping each other apart.
Stop being ugly.
Because we’re all in the same boat.
Jeanne De Clisson
© Anarchy & The EYLF Pirates 2016
All rights Reserved.