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‘My quitting teaching had very little to do with the kids and everything to do with the grown-ups’

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    The fixation on data, the growing level of surveillance, and the lack of creativity and teacher autonomy finally led this teacher to leave the profession:

    ‘The use of data to inform teaching is at its heart a very good idea. When used with intelligence, data can guide teaching like a laser to its target. However, data is often misleading and those charged with the task of interpreting it can lack any understanding of statistics or, in the worst cases, basic numeracy; I was once told by a senior leader that he’d like all our students to be “above average for the school”. While data is useful if you want to spot the groups across a large population that are underperforming, it becomes less meaningful if you try to apply the findings to individuals. Too many people believe that if it’s on an Excel spreadsheet, it must be true.

    The second problem is the growing level of surveillance…’


    Have you left the profession? If so, what were the reasons for leaving the job that you once loved?
  2. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    Same reasons as the article.
  3. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    100% agree with that article.

    Gives all the reasons I left.
  4. Ex-teacher

    Ex-teacher Occasional commenter

  5. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    I'm seriously thinking of retiring early this year for exactly the same reason. I LOVE being in a classroom but hate the endless requests for data trails, analyses and reports.
  6. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Some of the brightest and most high achieving kids I ever taught were written off and predicted to fail. Data usually misinformation and misleads, in my experience. Or it is used stupidly by even stupider Deputy Heads, especially those for academic 'progress' along with the UPS3 capability stick. Funny how those who are in with the SLT have more forgiving interpretations made of their results than the experienced older teachers who quietly get on with it all and are then promptly accused of any old rubbish. These days, schools even use we ex school teachers, many of whom are now self employed tutors, through the back door, claiming all the success for good exam results when the truth is that the tutors did just as much. Insane and untenable situation! It took me quitting a supposedly excellent school which actually had diabolical staff support in order to make a meaningful difference in another school. Technically, though, I no longer exist. One wonders whomjs actually educating kids these days...rapidly turned over school staff, the tutors who support and in many cases fill in whole courses, or the students themselves. It would have been easier to just pay the best and most experienced of us a decent living wage. Instead, parents are now forking out the extra because the standards within schools have nosedived so spectacularly quickly.
  7. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Could you possibly just pop all that in an email to me, and cc it as well to Zippy, George and Bungle?
  8. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Oh, and Jennyanydots in HR! Ciao, darling....
    bevdex likes this.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I agree with other posters that the 'drive' to make all children to conform to a 'model', often set by people outside of Schools is a big factor in people choosing to leave the profession. particularly older, more experienced teachers. New ones just take it as 'the norm' and question the policies less.
    there is no longer any allowance made for individuals within the system and letting children develop at their own pace. Everyone, staff and students, are made to feel 'failures', because they don't reach a certain benchmark by a certain date.
    I remember when children hated School and didn't want to go. Then when I started teaching things seemed to be turning and children started to enjoy their schooldays. However nowadays again I hear many children say they 'hate' school. How sad.

    Behaviour, which is not tackled well by strong SMT teams, makes a difficult job even harder.

    Plus of course others who are 'driven' out of the profession by constant monitoring, being made to feel inadequate or simply 'bullied out'.
  10. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    I've not left so can't list everything that's driving me out yet. I would say that phrases such as
    come pretty high on the list though.
  11. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    I haven't yet quit teaching but the reasons in the article are the ones I would give to dissuade anyone from thinking of joining the teaching profession.
  12. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    This article. Spot on.
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Reminds me of the emergency heart laser surgery I was treated to. Triggered by stress. In a school. Aggressive bullying observations caused a sudden collapse. Whole thing is, it is never laser precise. It's a blood soaked chaotic mess! If they obsess over and adore their data so much, then why don't they publish staff retention figures, average salaries across the school, and headteacher wages? Amount of cash spent per kid? No? Sure? Hmmm...not so laser sharp, then....
  14. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Unlike the observer and his dangerous laser, which burns everything up and causes widespread damage.
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  15. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I disagree. He was talking about the right data being used correctly. He also noted the limitations.

    It appears people have had their fingers burned by data and now believe it never has any validity whatsoever. This is an overreaction, albeit understandable.
  16. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Well blolloxks to the data, frankly. I can give you some interesting school data. We all could on here. But we retain confidentiality. But far too much data is inaccurate, manufactured and made up to performance manage out staff. Funnily enough, yes, this does make me dismiss the way school SLTS obsess over data. Teaching is a craft honed by experience. Some kids are bone idle and won't or just can't respond to all manner of interventions. I do the have the data for you, but I know that. When online schools start outperforming physical schools and the SLT realise that it's perfectly possible to not ponce around scrutinising spreadsheets but instead invest the saved time in more teaching, thereby boosting the results...I will try to get the data on it. But it will be hard, won't it? Too many school are lying about pass rates, forging coursework. Stealing money and being forced to close. Where's their financial audit data? Why can't we all see it? Then there's staff data. If you repeatedly boot out and rehire staff on two year cycles, you might, if you recruit cannily, maintain a super energetic and hand working workforce which is replaced before full burnout. I think they should impose financial penalties of schools with high staff turnover, tribunal cases, union involvement and active capability proceedings against staff. The shocking and important data is kept well hidden. So...nope, not a fan of data.
    drek, Alldone and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. Mrs_Hamilton

    Mrs_Hamilton Occasional commenter

    Yes! All of that.

    This very below average cohort that you've inherited need to be above average in all areas by next term. (Miracles and all that),

    The one above about statistically they can't all be in the above average group...impossible statistics.

    I know they've made MORE progress from their base line than last year's cohort, but why is their attainment lower. (The children and staff have worked hard, PROGRESS is more but...again...miracles)

    But her brother was 'expected' last year, so why isn't she 'expected'? Why is she only 'working below'? (If it's all in the genes, why bother assessing)

    I know, I forgot to ask this last week, but can you analyse the data and write a report on cohort progress for governors. When? Well I need it by this afternoon. I know it's short notice, and you're teaching all day...(yes really, I was asked at 12:55pm)
    Mrsmumbles, bevdex, drek and 2 others like this.
  18. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    The reasons why:
    • teachers have left
    • teacher are leaving
    • teachers want to leave are not changing.
    I have had the dubious privilege of talking to a wide variety of escapees (and wannabe escapees) over the last few years and the reasons despite the differences: age, gender, type of role, responsibilities of the teacher etc. etc. are the same.

    Will the last teacher please turn off...............
    drek and Mrsmumbles like this.
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    It's ok, I did it, took a reading and emailed it to OVO.
    Their 'meter readings coordinator' used to teach GCSE History....
    drek likes this.
  20. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Among other reasons I resigned from my full-time teaching post when a newly appointed Head and their SLT's demands for highly prescriptive OFSTED friendly lesson structures began to conflict with the learning needs and progress of my classes. I was piloting a GCSE level course in KS3 with fewer than the recommended guided learning hours available to me. When I pointed out the conflict I was told to consider the year group and its results as 'expendable' so long as OFSTED were happy when they observed the childrens' lessons (or not) over a couple of days at some indeterminate point in the future. I wasn't prepared to continue under those conditions and handed in my notice after 20 years' service in the school. It almost goes without saying that I was 50 years old, and on UPS3 with a TLR for running the school's specialist subject. I have no regrets about the decision or about the four years of supply teaching on a reduced income that followed my departure. Eight years on I am back working in the classroom on a freelance basis and very much on my own terms. In that respect I haven't left the basic job of helping children to learn, I just opted out of the silly power games that some so-called grown ups like to play.

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