As a final year student in University, and having taken Education Studies as my subject of choice it’s somewhat a given that I am considering teaching as a career path for the coming academic year. In preparation for PGCE interviews I have been spending a fair bit of time in schools and I thought I would share one interesting occasion with you all…
On this particular day (my first day in a primary school classroom for a long time), I was placed within a year three class. The class teacher was the absolute epitome of a fantastic teacher in my opinion. She was personable, friendly, and positive and she really made learning fun for her class. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that this week they had been looking at severe weather, why it was happening and what they could do to stop it. The children were engaged and many made comments that climate change made them sad and upset them, which demonstrated a strong relationship with the earth at such an early age. On another occasion, I was in a year 2 classroom and as the children returned in from break and set their rubbish in the bins I was thrilled to see that their teacher was promoting recycling and each child took such care in making sure they had put their waste in the correct place. Many of the children were also aware of wider environmental issues and there were lots of displays and initiatives to promote sustainability within the school. All in all, I was pretty darn impressed.
I stuck around to have a meeting with one of the teachers and so I was killing time in one of the classrooms, waiting for the hustle and bustle to die down and the children and parents to leave. Whilst I was waiting, the cleaners began to come round to stack the chairs and tidy the room ready for the next day. She brought one big black bin liner in and emptied the classroom waste bin into this, she then proceeded to empty the recycling box and the food waste bin into the same black bin liner! Now I’m no waste guru but even I could work out that she wasn’t about to go and sift through the combined waste herself to make sure it ended up in the right place to be recycled, rather, that was the quickest and easiest way to get out of there and get home. It was such a shame that all the hard work on the part of the teachers and the pupils overruled by the decisions of someone else somewhere down the line.
Now this is by no means conclusive to every school, however I think it highlights how important it is for any organisation to ensure the same values and practices across the board. This way, the staff can work together rather than counteracting the hard work of others. For schools- I don’t see why they can’t involve the kids with regards to recycling and rubbish… In my opinion it’s a great way to teach them life long lessons that I’m sure they might even find fun!