WATCH: 'I remember teaching lessons while gunfire echoed in the distance’

5th April 2017 at 15:12
Tes’ teacher blogger of the year, Natalie Scott, speaks passionately about her time teaching in a refugee camp in northern France and the little boy she owes her career to

Natalie Scott, Tes’ teacher-blogger of the year, gave an incredibly powerful TED talk at Norwich Ed this week.

The teacher spoke of two stories: her own, and that of a little boy – nicknamed "Spiderman" – whom she taught in refugee camps in northern France.

Scott, like many teachers, left the classroom, disheartened with the current education system.

"I didn’t walk away, I staggered, suffering from anxiety attacks, panic attacks and utterly heartbroken. My whole identity was lost,’ she said.

It was when she traded her stilettos for wellies and travelled to northern France to teach in the refugee camps, that she met Spiderman. This little boy, said Scott, taught her to love teaching again. 

"Little children are living in illegal squalor; the camps are unsanitary, uncivilised, and totally unsafe.

"All children deserve education – it’s a fundamental human right. Yet Spiderman had never been to school before I met him,’ she said.

The true power of education

Scott urged teachers who are struggling with the "current ethos" of the system to remember that education is the key to a better life for all.

"We measure teachers on how well they choreograph the routine of knowledge and recall; we judge our students on very little else other than their exam results.

‘But what if instead we taught them to measure by the deeds that they do, that true value lies in how you treat your fellow man? What if we could teach our children that in the UK and in Europe, and even beyond, showing kindness in the face of intolerance or ignorance is the way to a better world?

"What if progressive and traditionalist teachers could for once stand united with a collective voice again, against the frightening xenophobic winds of our time?"


The shortlist for the 2017 Tes School Awards will be revealed on the 7 April. To keep up to date with this year's Tes School Awards, follow #TesAwards on Twitter. 

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