‘Children! You are not data’: teacher’s poster aims to trigger debate

On a busy high street in Exeter, a two-metre high poster on a telephone box screams the parting words of a local teacher so angry about the way children are being taught and assessed he is quitting teaching after nearly two decades. “CHILDREN! YOU ARE NOT DATA,” it shouts in capitals: “LEARN, INSPIRE, DREAM, CREATE. THE WORLD NEEDS YOU TO BE THE BEST AT WHAT YOU LOVE.” The Guardian reports. 

The poster was created by Kevin Payne, a year 3 and 4 teacher at Landscore primary school, who left his job last week after 17 years in the profession. “I wanted to send a message to children that teachers care about them – and that they are worth more than just a piece of paper that says whether or not they are meeting an expected standard.”

He is worried that the education system now undervalues creative and non-academic skills, and many children will grow up thinking all that matters is passing tests. “As a teacher, you are torn between the constant pressure to get your pupils to achieve their objectives, and a desire to help them find what they love doing and are passionate about.”

When teachers get caught in this trap, he says, they end up feeling stressed and unable to cope. “Who would want to be in education and not value children? My message to teachers feeling this way is: you are not alone.” He wants the poster to trigger a debate about the way children are being taught, and to grab the government’s attention.
In September will you put the A4 poster up in your classroom? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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