Yesterday, I attended my first school governors’ meeting. This was quite a large event, as it was attended by the governors and head teachers of all eight schools in the Academy Trust that my school is part of. Of course, on top of that, there were also directors and trustees present too.
To some extent, this could have been akin to being thrown in at the deep end to see if I float! I’m glad to say, I floated just fine: experience in treading water comes with age I guess. To be honest, although it wasn’t easy to absorb so much information about the Trust, how it works, who does what etc, it was actually very useful for me to have the opportunity to get a good incite into how things work, before my first school based meeting and assignment. In the past, governors have faced quite a struggle in their first year, as they’ve had to learn “on the job”. As a volunteer, I much prefer to be given all the information so that I don’t have to waste time looking for it later: there’s a limit to how much of my time I give before I feel obligated to charge a fee.
I met many well intentioned, good people there, and engaged in plenty of polite conversations during lunch and the tea break in the afternoon. One thing struck me as rather odd though. In spite of all the talk about social mobility, and every child has the right to a good education blah blah blah, I was the only one there from a working class background. It was almost as though I’d gate crashed a party, or perhaps infiltrated an exclusive club!
It dawned on me during my drive home, that perhaps apathy among the masses, more than prejudice, is the biggest problem in our society. I’ve no doubt that everyone there was there because they want to make the schools the best they can, even the paid directors. One of the directors said to me “I really admire people like you who give up your time for free for the benefit of our schools. I’m here because it’s my job, and it’s the job that I’ve chosen and enjoy. I’m not sure I could find the time if I was involved in something else job wise.”
I smiled at her, and asked her a question: “Don’t you think the world would be a better place if everyone found a bit of time to do something for their community?”