Yesterday, for reasons still unknown, I decided that I wanted to listen to George Michael. I wasn’t a fan in the 80s, mainly because I was in primary school and in the 90s, I was far too complicated and into grunge! But as I got older and his music developed I really grew to love his voice. The song that grabbed me yesterday was ‘Don’t let the sun go down on me’, sung as a duet with Elton John. Again, I was never that fussed about Elton John. His voice is amazing but it wasn’t really my thing as a stroppy, complicated and grungy teenager.
So in my odd little moment yesterday, I listened to George Michael and Elton John belting out their collaboration and it was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. SO I started to have a squizz at other stuff by them both and landed on Freedom. I had completely forgotten that the song exists. It just wasn’t something on my radar when I was younger and now I do appreciate it so much more. I know the lyrics are long and there is probably a lot more depth in them than I read into them just now but that, combined with Mel Gibson as Braveheart yelling, “They’ll never take our freedom” got me onto thinking about the whole ‘back to school’ thing.
There was a thread on twitter an I can’t remember who started it but it was about what folk find hardest about going back to school after the summer holidays and it read really starkly. Teachers and school-workers are exhausted before they begin. There was talk of sacrificed evenings, not spending time with their own children, not seeing family. Social lives were ‘jokingly’ cast aside for the sake of marking, and the ability to have hot cups of coffee or wee-at-will was lost until time-predetermined. Teachers just have to little wriggle room and freedom during term time. There is just no breathing space- pun intended this term as well- and that cannot be good for our health.
Retention of staff is still a huge issue in English schools, despite a lot of applications for training this year (recessions will do that!) so I think there are still problems a-brewing. They always take our freedom for up to 8 weeks at a time and it is utterly exhausting. There has to be a better way to do this.