It is twenty to six in the morning and I am Bristol International Airport once again, this time for a day trip (essentially a one hour meeting but I've arranged other stuff to do as well).
I had a little reminder of the reality of inequality yesterday. I know there are people who are working much longer, harder hours than I do, for much less pay. EF helped out with her son's class excursion yesterday and was shocked by how hard a 90 minutes it was. Having done the same (with a very angry, upset, running-away-all-the-time four year old Somali boy in tow) I can attest to it. I have seen good teachers in flow and it is something to behold. Their commitment, energy (even when at the raw edges of it) and dedication to giving the best their children can receive is invaluable and more often than not underappreciated.
I also bumped into M yesterday, who was still going strong at her teaching job, working the hours despite being only a handful of months away from being a mum.
Elsewhere in the country, and the world, are countless people, working hard to ensure they do the best job they can for the money they earn. Sometimes they do it for free. It is a hard one to contemplate, that this inequality exists, that the value conferred is dependent not upon the lasting impact and criticality of these jobs and how they are performed, but on notional abstracts of value that are linked to ideologies and skewed economic and financial models.
There will always be relative value. There has to be. The question is, do our ideas of 'relative' and 'relative to' bear scrutiny? Are the values we ascribe fair and do they reflect the inherent value of a 'thing' within society? How valuable is a good teacher, who influences and inspires generations of children to be better, wiser and more inquisitive than they otherwise would be? Can we measure that and reflect that in financial terms and social standing? Can we ever reach a model of social, cultural and financial equilibrium that truly reflects the value of a thing or deed?
Perhaps not, given the way humanity works, with its less than altrustic nature. It doesn't mean we cannot work towards that, or recognise it, even in small, individual ways. For all that we are a mess, we human beings, we should always recognise that there are those who give far more than the value ascribed to them, and that they drag us upwards.
And that I should quit my moaning and remember that I could be doing more for more than I can currently do.