If they don’t respect, appreciate and value you, then they don’t deserve you.
I thought I’d share with you the cover of our 13th edition of our Authors & Artists of Mannus, which has arrived hot off the printing presses.
Every year since 2004 our literacy teacher Debbie Gadd, with my support as Senior Correctional Education Officer, has compiled an anthology of work from students and staff – a mixture of writing, drawings, class work with ESL students, stories, poems, craft work, photos – as part of Adult Learners Week. In the beginning it was a photocopied affair but in recent years we have had help from the Audio Visual unit, to produce a more professional copy at a very reasonable rate. We only produce a very small print run.
Each year in October, we have a big launch with staff and inmates invited and those who have submitted something get presented with a copy of the booklet. If they’ve already left us we post a copy to a forwarding address which they have left with us for this very purpose. I have always sent a copy to the Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner and Head Office for their records and I will do so again this year – they might like to read my foreword in this year’s edition!!
The front cover is a painting by a former part-time literacy teacher, Daragh McCallum, who resigned in July to take up a position at the local high school, due to the uncertainties with her future with CSNSW. The apples are superb and have lots of meanings for us – apples for the teacher; our centre produces the apples for all the state’s gaols; and they were painted by a creative literacy teacher who taught with us for 9 years and who is now is lost to our system.
This is the sort of thing that accounting firms cannot quantify in their calculations when looking at reviewing the provision of Education in gaols – it is literacy teaching at its best! The pride the students get in seeing their work in print, the efforts they have gone to in writing something to share, the celebration of words and the showcasing of talent in such a negative environment and it doesn’t even have to cost that much!!
The value that is inherent in this type of education is not the sort of value the Minister and others are looking for. They want tangible, cold hard statistics in which to prove their own value. We haven’t been valued, respected, thanked or appreciated for any of the work we’ve done over the years, just used as an excuse to privatise another service that should not be sold off.
Another quote that comes to mind is:
‘If you think Education is expensive try ignorance.’
I am very proud of this final edition, our 13th, and wonder if this type of valuable education will continue once we are gone from the centre?? Sadly, I think not!
Thanks for reading this post written for the Daily Post challenge with Value as the prompt.
As my opening quote says – If they don’t respect, appreciate and value me, then they don’t deserve me.
Note: In case you are unaware of what I’m talking about here, you can read my previous posts about the NSW State Government’s decision in May this year to remove the majority of qualified Educators in the state’s correctional centres and outsource the provision of Education to external providers. This means that my colleagues and I will be out of a job by the end of the year. We could apply for clerical roles or other non-teaching jobs within the department or wait for to be offered a redundancy. Either way the many years of experience and value of all of us will be lost.
PS. I submitted my Big Debbie’s Purple boots story in this year’s edition. I’m sure it will be a popular read! 🙂