I will pass on teachers who fail our children
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By Saira Khan | columnist

All teachers were supposed to be inspiring – but when I was asked this week if I could remember something from my school days, I couldn’t.

Inspiration to me is when you are touched by a person’s passion or skills and want to be just like them.

My school was decent and my teachers were nice, but I wouldn’t describe them as inspiring.

Education is very important to me. One of the reasons my immigrant parents stayed in the UK was because my siblings and I could have a decent education.

Now, as a parent, I’m more passionate than ever. I am very happy that both of my children attend excellent schools with excellent teachers.

It is you who – despite the system, the pay, the children, the parents and now Covid – do the job out of the love of teaching. They are the ones who add value to a child’s life, the ones who go beyond duty.

Not all parents are as lucky as I am. Some have seen teachers who are lazy, use the job to suit their lifestyle and let children and parents down.

But when I expressed this opinion publicly, I was attacked.

“Have you ever followed in a teacher’s footsteps?” They asked.

“You are disgusting.”

“What do you know about the education system? We’re overworked and underpaid.” I stand up for all parents who are affected by poor teaching but were afraid to say something if it should affect their child.

And I stand up for everyone in the education system who has been bullied or even fired for violating the way things are done in school.

For every teacher who attacked me, many more parents wrote to tell me about teachers who abandoned their children.

You failed because of a child with learning difficulties. One was racist, completely ignorant of cultural needs, and insensitive to religious ones. You couldn’t even make a schedule.

The teachers sent me examples of colleagues who did the bare minimum, refused to adapt to new teaching methods, and hid behind a system that allowed them to hide. And I heard from students whose teachers couldn’t control the class and made them feel useless.

I am not the first to speak of poor teachers.

Pauline Wood, a school principal in Sunderland, has been suspended for saying some teachers did nothing during the lockdown.

Teachers are having a particularly tough time as the government rules and advice on how to deal with returning to school after the lockdown are constantly changing.

But that’s no excuse that defective parts can’t be improved.

Parents should never be afraid to speak up. The future of our children depends on it.

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