At my most idealistic, I feel that education can be a great way to challenge the status quo.

That’s what I truly believe and part of why I have stayed. As a class teacher I challenge my students to question things – even things that I have taught them.  As a school leader, I routinely ask those I work with in all capacities “Why?”

This blog is a space for me to ask questions as well as a space to explore answers. Sadly, I it feels to me that debate in public spaces, including schools, is increasingly seen as a dangerous thing unless confined to safe topics.

Yesterday there was a Europe-wide 1 minute silence as a sign of solidarity for the victims of the Paris bombings.  During the time I and my and my Year 9 students were contemplating the (undoubtedly terrible) events I thought about a number of things. The following questions popped into my head in precisely this order

  1. Why do some victims elicit our sympathy?
  2. Why do others receive pity rather than empathy?
  3. Why do some barely register at all?

Then finally I spent the day with the, for me, haunting question… are there hierarchies of grief and in schools do we unwittingly perpetuate them?




2 thoughts on “Hierarchies

  1. A difficult and dangerous thing to think; to admit to. But I agree. There’s a spectrum of pity from the “like the Faceboook meme” to the detached impersonal analysis of the health economists who carry out the inenviable task of healthcare rationing. And in the middle there’s you caring about the people you know, many in just as ghastly a predicament as the Paris victims. Kep thinking. Keep caring.

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