Today I entered into the usual school staffroom conversation, you know the one, you’ve been involved often….”Wow, I can’t believe how busy we are at the moment! Things are more challenging than ever before. I can’t believe that it is worse than last year. We seem to be taking on more and more and we never drop anything off the radar. We’re more accountable, society is more demanding and we’re expected to do more than ever before! I don’t know how I’ll survive!”
Then my colleague Rex shared his theory that we in schools are the victim of the ‘new model’ mentality. Rex shared his belief that our consumer society is simply transferring the same expectations that we have for the motor car to our education system….and I think he’s right!
Each year, car manufacturer’s put out new models. Whilst it might be a face lift, a revamp or a completely new model. Each subsequent model is faster than the previous year’s model, has a higher safety rating, is more economical to run, roomier inside, has more features, looks better and costs less!
As a further example of our ever increasing consumer expectations, have you bought a new TV in the past 5 years? TV screens have grown, the panels are thinner, the picture is clearer, they are more energy efficient, have more channels, can access more media formats and have come down significantly in price. A flat screen is no longer a luxury, it appears to be the norm.
In the past week the local council have been undertaking the annual bulk rubbish collection in my suburb. Every second household has placed their discarded TV set on the footpath for the official rubbish collectors (and the unofficial vultures too!).
Our consumer society leads to this snowballing mentality. We expect more and more bang for our buck! Our society has high expectations and is always upping the ante. Everything is expected to be bigger, faster, stronger, cleaner, easier, simpler and easier to use…and education is the same!
This creates the feeling of running faster and faster on an endless treadmill. Whilst this realization may not slow the treadmill, I hope the realization that we are not alone, may help ease the pain! Thanks Rex!