Learning can take place without teachers - it happens every day. However, as a civilized society we choose to structure education with schools and classrooms populated by learners and teachers - so far it is the best way we have come up with to teach and learn subjects like maths, science, history, and many more. While technology enables on-line learning and teaching to take place, our education system is a long way away from providing this at second level education in this country.
|Image Source: RTÉ Morning Ireland Twitter Page.|
I take no side in the current teachers' dispute. I don't work at second level and it's not for me to argue the merits of claims and counter claims. I am not a member of a union, and have no plans to join one. News reports are increasingly and repetitively dominated by pay claims and restoration by public sector unions - will it ever end?
The sad thing about all of this is that learning and teaching is not taking place today in many schools. For some learners it will be a welcome day off, for others it will be of little consequence as it is just one day (so far), and for many there will be the added worry of missing out on learning in a Leaving Certificate year. For some teachers it will be a welcome day off, for others it will be of little consequence as it is just one day (so far), and for many there will be the added worry of missing out on teaching in a Leaving Certificate year. There are no winners, just losers.
In the end, this dispute will be resolved - they always are. Money will fix this - it will have to be either borrowed, raised from taxes, or some other public service will have to be cut. Whatever needs to be done to restore learning and teaching in our schools should be done, at whatever the cost is to be. Then there will be no losers, just winners.