Teaching and how people perceive it is always in the media. ‘You only work 9-3’ and ‘You’re always on holiday’ are just two of the commonly heard phrases. Government policy on teaching is always changing, or so it seems. I qualified in 2002 and have seen goodness knows how many changes to the curriculum, strategies, policies etc. Each secretary of state for education seems to see it as their mission in life to annoy teachers as much as possible whilst wanting to come across as doing right by the children in the system at the time.
At present there are huge changes going through and proposed for secondary education. I do not teach this age group so I can’t speak with any confidence about it, except to say that everything appears to be happening at breakneck speed without speaking to those who it affects; the teachers. How are they supposed to do the best for the children when they are having to redesign all those long, medium and short term plans that take hours and hours to put together?
In primary the curriculum has big changes too. Some of it positive and some not. I have been away from mainstream primary education for 9 years now so I’m not up with details. Again however, teachers will be spending more and more time once the children have gone home and in the holidays replanning everything.
Our professionalism is put under scrutiny all the time. Believe it or not we are professionals though you’d never guess by the way we are treated in the media.
Ofsted’s agenda appears to be changing by the month and what they look for when they visit schools seems a mystery or bizarre at best. (Rapid progress in a 20 minute session for children with profound learning difficulties anyone?)
Licensing for teachers is the latest story to hit the headlines thanks to Tristram Hunt MP. Instead of listening to teachers and other staff in education he has gone for something yet again which appears to be teacher bashing. We are all ready subject to regular inspections, our pay is now linked to our performance (my feelings on this are maybe for another post) and are accountable in so many ways. We are always trying to learn and develop and continuing cpd is part of every school’s life. Why do we need licensing?
Many feel that 2 year olds should be in school to help them have the best start. As an early years teacher and mother to a 3 and a half year old I can not disagree with this more. Our children need time to explore and play and be nurtured and cared for not in a school environment.
I challenge anyone to find a teacher that is happy with the state of education at the moment. All we ask is that we are listened to and respected. We want what is best for the children in our care. We want them to achieve their very best. We want them to learn. Please please let us do this.