Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Did he say something?

Who? Michael Gove?

I resurfaced to hear he's in the news again.

I have become quite skilled at avoiding him. I came to the conclusion I couldn't learn anything I would value from Gove. There is no positive impact on my mental health to be had from him. I can learn only how to visit on the world threatening strategies to undermine others, an arrogant language of contempt, and techniques to make anyone feel failed, damaged, and worthless.

Needless to say, these are not lessons I would like to learn.

If he now brushes dangerously close to my world - his annoying voice in a radio news programme, say - then I find I can blank him out and prevent him from impacting on my daily educational experience. Thus I can go about our rich and happy learning experiences while remaining completely indifferent to his latest pronouncements.

This has been extremely good for my mental health.

However, there are times when the shadow of him falls across my vision. Such as when he offers up some new poorly researched idea, or he says something especially insulting and stupid about people who stand up to explain ways of living that don't fit his own view of the world. Then my mental health takes a turn for the worse. I can hear myself growling and it's only a matter of time before the snarling starts.

When he does pop up in this way, to keep myself calm and balanced, I remind myself how grateful I am that my children are removed from his scraggy Nosferatu claws. Escaping with a few skin deep bruises of IGCSEs to emerge with our identities and characters largely intact means we are getting away lightly. What years of our Gove-free fun we have had, doing what we like! I can only imagine the pain you school-choosers and Gove watchers must have endured.

But every so often, Gove impacts on me because others take him on. And then how grateful I am to them, bringing voices of wit, wisdom and clarity; people who have more mental stamina than me to stand up and nail those points. Read them here and here.

Hip hip hooray. Now I shall go back to our real-world home ed, a land of Gove-free learning with so many ways that he could never understand.

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