Save RE is not a productive forum for discussion. Save RE is a battleground. I have only actually ventured onto it a few times because I find the majority of things that go on there are not actually helpful or relevant to the kind of RE that I am striving to teach (academically rigorous, NO FLUFF!).
However, on the occasions that I have shown my face and made a comment or two, I have kept it in my usual blunt style and don’t tip-toe around what I am trying to say. Obviously this annoys people, but what I always seem to get is comments like “well you’re obviously a rubbish teacher then…”
Save RE should not be a ‘my horse is bigger than your horse’ forum. It is there to be a positive support to those teachers who are maybe the only one in their department (like myself) and who want support or even just a nod that they are doing the right thing. It is there to discuss the political drama surrounding RE law and the new specs and a place for people to muddle through and make sense of all the government nonsense.
But it is not. It is a place where people attack each other based on their teaching? I am no angel in this scenario, I do make very clear my opinions on matters and I express them in a way which may make others feel daft for having other opinions. Having had a taste of my own medicine, I would probably reconsider how I speak on there now because it’s not nice when you’re panicking about notifications from Facebook because you’re embroiled in an argument with someone. That is not how Save RE should make us feel.
I want to show you some examples of what I mean. Naming and shaming, without the naming.
Yesterday there was a thread about the new specs being ‘too traditional’. Personally, I welcome this as I have always hated the kind of RE that the exam boards have previously had us teach. So I commented. The reply is below:
I don’t understand where my teaching came into that. “Sorry you have not been [teaching academic RE] Rebecca.” How would this person know what I teach? I am possibly the world’s biggest advocate for an academic RE. So why did this person make such a snide comment?
Besides the point, whether I am being academically rigorous or not, the Edexcel spec had organ transplants and Bruce Almighty on it. So why did the person responding feel the need to put me down in that moment? I am the only RE teacher in my school and if I wasn’t so cocky and sure that what I am doing is good RE, I may have gone away from that with my tail between my legs thinking ‘OMG I’m a failure’.
The person could simply have said something like “there is room in the GCSE specs to add academia, here is an example of what I have been doing…” I, maybe, (probably not) would have gone wow, please share, I would love to use some of your fantastic tools to help add some rigour into my classes. But instead they chose to put me down, even though they have never seen me teach.
I did give said person a piece of my mind though (obviously!). I just couldn’t stop myself…
May I suggest that we don’t put each other down? This happens enough in schools from power mad managers who have nothing better to do. Everyone will teach differently, everyone will have different time constraints and different pressures. What is important is that we are unified in making RE better for the future. Save RE should be a safe environment, just like our classrooms.
I will be exiting Save RE today and will be glad that my Facebook will be rid of this nastiness…
(This is just one example, this is not the first time someone has made the ‘well you must be a rubbish teacher then…’ comment on there)