Reveries of a Solitary Teacher – Spring Cleaning

A change is not as good as a rest! This year so far has been filled with change and I am absolutely shattered but still smiling. Time to take stock!

I have changed school, subject and working pattern! I’ve changed from secondary to primary and back again – I’m now sort of straddling the two. I’ve been on supply, in contract and out of contract. I’ve launched a new business and dealt with a whole world of business requirements and paperwork! I’ve been dating schools and jobs – confirming for myself what is important to me and what is not.

I suppose I have had a teaching gap year?

Something just broke. I felt that the demands being placed on me were so far removed from my own ethical and personal values that I couldn’t continue in my previous job so I resigned.

I sat and added up the amount of work expected per week in terms of hours and realised that to do my job I had to stop sleeping.

You can’t mark every book every day and plan proper purposeful lessons and attend multiple meetings a week – and respond to 30 emails a day – and complete an onerous performance management ritual only to be told that because of budget changes you are getting less than another teacher doing the same job in a different school even though you have gone above and beyond to meet all of your targets.

My parents beat the power of education as a vehicle for social change into me from an early age (bloody communists). They were both teachers and still are champions of the importance of the best state education system possible.

My issue is that at the minute the system is not working as well as it should. We are not providing the best education just the most easily measured.

European Computer Driving License – The Learn Machine – IGCSE – multi spec exam entries from each subject – qualifications flung at kids with little to no prep so we can fill imaginary buckets???

What are we doing?

Are we doing everything we can for them? Are we allowing them to develop as individuals or trying to stamp them all through the same mould to fit the current government measures for school performance?

Things I have learnt from this year so far –

1. Teaching is a great job
2. Schools are not great workplaces – people forget that teachers are adults.
3. All kids are gifted and talented
4. There are too many middle managers in education.
5. Life after levels has failed due to lack of clear government directives and middle management hunger for job justifying spreadsheet data.
6. Kids writing is better in Year 6 than in Year 8
7. I don’t like grown ups shouting at kids.
8. Some schools are allowed to photocopy
9. Primary schools can print resources in colour
10. There are some bad teachers out there
11. There are some worse supply teachers
12. Behaviour management is about choice – if you choose not to tolerate any poor behaviour then they choose to behave – when they slip – offer choice.

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