For those of you who know me well or who worked with me around four years ago, you’ll know that I took a chance and unsuccessfully ran in the Teaching Council elections for the Dublin constituency back in early 2012. I can categorically state that I will not be running in the 2016 elections. However, the experience taught me something. Apathy among teachers towards the Teaching Council was massive.
Last time around, between 7% and 8% of all registered teachers in Ireland voted in the elections. I can’t say I blame the 92% of teachers who decided not to vote. Apathy was a huge issue 4 years ago and I don’t believe that much has changed since then. The difference this year is that TC registration is now compulsory for all teachers and voting will be online for the first time, instead of a postal ballot which was the case previously. It will be interesting to see how this affects apathy and subsequent engagement with the voting process.
Some prospective candidates have already made their intentions clear via social media, which is to be commended. Although registering as a candidate won’t officially commence until early January, there’s no harm in preparing early and getting word out there. My hope for this round of candidates is that there will be a significant difference between those that have gone before them and what they will be able to offer us for the next 4 years. The only reason I know the names of some elected members of the Teaching Council is because I was heavily involved in the process 4 years ago. To the average teacher, they may not know the names of their elected members, that there even was an election 4 years ago, or that there is one coming up in February. Lack of communication between the TC and teachers was a talking point for many when candidates put themselves forward previously. If the next group of elected members are to even hope to change that, they must focus on putting that sort of talk into action.
I plan on revisiting this topic in the New Year, when candidates have been confirmed. I have something interesting in mind so watch this space!