It is unskilful to consider – and reject almost as one act – any piece of work and thought from a front line worker. It is unskilful to appraise it as a whole, end-product. It is unskilful to see it as insufficient simply because it has not arrived by strategy or management domain. Its inevitable – inexorable – rejection (its dismissal, its en-irrelevance) will, equally inevitably, significantly damage the worker’s belief in the education system, it will damage their morale, it will damage their confidence. Their belief, their morale, their confidence will become confused; there will be a despair of thinking that there was any ‘system’ or purpose in education altogether. The system will be understood – experienced – to be systemically unable to incorporate the very thought, experience, expertise of the service it seeks to systematise. It – the system – will demand and measure impertinent to the very service it regulates. A school can only ‘see’ work as ‘ends’-defined (i.e. rather than ‘means’-defined), ‘solution’ rather than ‘process’, ‘result’ rather than ‘mechanism’ when viewed through a managerial model only. This way of viewing makes things change within education, but not necessarily for the right reasons, because it centres the gravity of activity around the decision and not the resource itself. To override the resource is a maniacal oversight and waste and produces work which lurches, which is often reluctant, and achieves no momentum.
Rather, any work offered should be seen as a forum/discussion/seminar/exploration, as a ‘let’s see’ rather than a ‘this is it’. Any development needs to be holistic, recognising the inter-dependent origination of both management and the resource (both the yang and the yin) so that it can produce organic, stable, plan-able, fruitful, reliable work. The manager strategises and integrates the resource, the resource innovates and practises. Managers are rewarded for managing/strategising/integrating, resources should be rewarded for innovating/galvanising/catalysing – both of these above and beyond (and amid) the fundamental job of teaching.
A teacher ever was, and ever will be, a resource. But controlling by over-ruling them, by disempowering their craft, by alkalising their endeavour will surely be a waste for the school as well as for them. Use them and reward them as a resource, consult, explore, follow their discoveries and applications, then see how they can be managed across the school. And what is the reward for being a resource? Take them off a full timetable, it is an absolute killer for anyone that does anything more than just walk into a classroom and ‘DHL’ a lesson.