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Teach Last - It's a thing! (Now Teach)

Discussion in 'Education news' started by palmtree100, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. kazzakat934

    kazzakat934 New commenter

    Not on your life... I am planning my escape to the sunny and better-paid shores of international teaching.

    I am at that awkward career stage of being too old to be cheap and over twenty years from retirement.
    Shedman likes this.
  2. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    I am a bit taken aback by this thread, I have to say.

    I am planning a mid-life career change into teaching, after a successful career in my first chosen profession. I shall be taking a 67% salary cut to do so, as will many of those that Ms Kellaway is hoping to attract into teaching. You don't do that without being serious in your intentions, and being committed to the idea of teaching.

    I don't think you can generalise on the basis of age and say that young fresh-faced graduates are going to be more committed, or more realistic in their expectations, or better prepared to enter teaching than those of us who choose to join the profession in middle age.

    I hope you would all be supportive and helpful to those young fresh-faced graduates as they do their TP and NQT years, welcoming them into your ranks and supporting them in their aspirations. I certainly hope you wouldn't be knocking them down with disparaging comments like "You haven't a clue what it's really like: you'll only last 5 minutes". So why do so many deem it acceptable to direct similar comments to older entrants to the teaching profession?

    And let's be clear about it ... the statistics are hardly a secret, are they? One third of all NQTs have left the profession within 5 years. So I'm guessing that quite a few of those fresh-faced young graduates that some folk seem to think are a better bet than us oldies had unrealistic expectations, and couldn't hack it either.

    What is needed here is not a divisive, age-discriminatory attack on older entrants to the profession, who have taken a mature and considered decision to make significant personal sacrifices to join your profession because they think that they, like you, may have what it takes to be a good teacher. What is needed is a willingness to be inclusive; a recognition that we're all in this (or going to be in this) together; and that in an era when maths teacher recruitment is only 84% of target; physics 81%; classics 78%; computing 68% and Design & Technology 41% [Source: The Times, 25 November 2016] what is needed is a willingness on the part of those who are already in the profession to welcome and embrace the new joiners, whatever their background and motivation, and to offer them the help and support they need to feel at home in their newly chosen profession and to rise to its challenges. Then, hopefully, the tide may slowly turn.

    I'll end with a metaphor, because I like metaphors.

    When the ship's sinking and the pumps have broken down, self-interest may sometimes dictate that you welcome some extra people aboard, if they can help with the baling ...
  3. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I think the main reason for many negative responses about older people wanting to become teachers is because so many older, experienced teachers have been forced out of the profession just because they are more expensive. The process varies little: previously long-term good / outstanding teachers are given a poor lesson observation, placed on capability and the process then snowballs until, whatever they do to 'improve' they end up leaving.

    Then - surprise, surprise - there is a shortage of teachers - and people like yourself think the profession needs you. Whereas, if experienced, good teachers were allowed to continue doing their good job, there would be much less of a teacher shortage problem.

    You may be a wonderful teacher eventually, but the assumption that people new to the profession and receiving training 'on the job' will be better than those with teaching qualifications & many years of good practice is bound to upset those good, qualified & experienced who have lost their jobs.
  4. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    I agree with everything you say (NTTOTM) about age and that's partly why I started the thread. Currently, there is a feeling that schools are preferring to hire NQTs over experienced, often older candidates. Most teachers over 40 look around the staff room and feel like pensioners, compared to the majority of 23-30 year-olds.

    My point is that, although young NQTs have lots of ideas and enthusiasm and are straight from uni with the latest pedagogy - a good thing- experienced teachers have other valuable qualities too (often subject knowledge, general knowledge, well-developed skills in teaching difficult concepts etc.) We need a balance in schools, and departments, so that we can pool those talents and skills.

    The government is now having to attract recruits to teacher training from all age groups, which is great (benefits colleagues and children) but has it attempted to address the cause of qualified teachers leaving in droves? It is vitally important to make teaching a feasible job that doesn't make you ill and allows you to have a life outside of school.

    Many parents, for example, are unwilling to use their QTS, as teaching would mean neglecting their own children by working 60-70 hours a week. These are often potentially excellent teachers who know all too well how children learn and how their minds work. All it would take to bring many of them back is a 45-50 hour week and a more professional, respectful working environment. Less of the dog-eat-dog prove your own impact and step on your colleagues syndrome. We want the children to collaborate, but encourage the staff to compete.

    We need Now Teach, but we also need Teach Again and Keep on Teaching (I made the last two up), with incentives. Workload is the biggest issue.
    schoolsout4summer and chelsea2 like this.
  5. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    Yes - I get all of that. But the correct target for vituperation here is surely the iniquitous system which is causing valuable, experienced teachers to leave the profession.

    Something I learned early in my career is that assuming you know another person's motivations, and telling them what they think, is a sure-fire way to cause offence in most situations. Fortunately I have a thick skin and a slow fuse, and I do not take offence. But your suggestion that my motive is that "I think the profession needs me" couldn't be further from the truth.

    I wish to join the teaching profession because I feel a sense of vocation, and I wish to make a positive difference in young lives. I would be seeking to make this career change now regardless of whether there was a recruitment crisis or not (but given that there is, I am not going to pretend that the financial incentive being offered to me isn't very welcome given the personal sacrifices I will be making to follow my vocational calling.

    Did I miss my vocation as a young man? I don't think so. I do not believe that I should have made a good teacher in my twenties. But now, with a quarter of a century of additional life experience under my belt, I believe that I shall. The referees for my PGCE application (a former line manager in the civil service and a retired prep school headmaster) both feel the same way, as do the overwhelming majority of my colleagues who have heard of my plans.

    But I am not seeking any special treatment or recognition for that additional life experience. I am not holding myself out as anything special. I am going in at the bottom, training in the conventional way, and expecting to start at the bottom of the pay scale like every other NQT. The only difference is that I shall have slightly fewer hairs than many of them, and slightly greyer.

    And so I repeat - we are new entrants to the profession, the same as any other, looking for no favours on account of our age, but expecting no adverse treatment on account of it either.

    I can see that if such an assumption were to be made, then people might be forgiven for taking offence. It is not an assumption that I make, and from what I have read of Lucy Kellaway's proposals it is not an assumption that she makes either.

    And, believe me, many of us will have had to grapple with ill-thought out and poorly designed Performance Management systems in our life before teaching which have wrought much the same havoc in our former workplaces as you describe, causing disenchantment, demotivation and demoralisation. If there is a battle to be fought here then we will be your natural allies - PROVIDED you all let us be. This is a simple old-fashioned trade union point though: we must all hang together, because if we do not we will all hang separately.

    Yes - I did not intend any criticism of you for starting the thread; but I felt that some of the subsequent comments were more than a little hostile and unwelcoming to those of us of more mature years seeking to enter the profession.

    I think (hope?) we can all agree with this - it is a good point well made.

    The government is now having to attract recruits to teacher training from all age groups, which is great (benefits colleagues and children) but has it attempted to address the cause of qualified teachers leaving in droves? It is vitally important to make teaching a feasible job that doesn't make you ill and allows you to have a life outside of school.

    Again, an excellent point and bang on the money!

    We do indeed (and I love your inventive imagination!)
  6. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Thank you!
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Chicken and egg. Which came first?

    1. Was it the idea that new teachers might be more dynamic and thrusting and (completely coincidentally) much cheaper?
    2. New teachers are cheaper and could easily be portrayed (whether true or not) as more dynamic and thrusting?

    peggylu and bevdex like this.
  8. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Teach Last? I couldn't agree more.
  9. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Didn't we all!

    Nearly choked on my coffee reading this sentence.

    It's not about old versus young.

    Experienced versus newbies (of any age).

    Second career folk versus long standing teachers.

    Or indeed any other permutations or comparisons. It's about the fact that what you're aspiring to do in your comment above is practically impossible in the current system.

    Come back in 5 years and let us know how your sense of vocation is holding up against the reality of teaching in the state system today.

    Some people have to find out the reality through bitter personal experience. You're obviously one of them. No ones being hostile to any age group, just honest.

    Remember, 5 years minimum. Speak to you then.

    Is this a quiz? I choose option 2.
    nervousned likes this.
  10. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I became a teacher in my mid forties, after years with Social Services and the Benefits Agency.
    It was tough. It was such a long time since I'd been at school and pupil behaviour was a world away from what I knew. I'd read about discipline issues, lack or respect for teachers etc but that doesn't prepare you for the reality.

    I did at least complete a PGCE and it always bothers me that others think that they will be fine, as older entrants, taking over a significant timetable, solo, after few weeks of training.
    A significant number of younger, fully trained teachers do indeed leave the profession early, unable to hack it or not prepared to endure it. They at least had training and a better idea of what modern classrooms are like before they gave it a go, not least because they were pupils themselves in the near past.

    In the case being publicised, the journalist is being 'trained' by her own business. How is she able to set up and offer training courses as a complete ingénue to the profession and have herself and others taken on in teaching roles in the State sector after 2 to 3 weeks of orientation? It takes longer than that for highly qualified teachers to get to grips with the new GCSE schedules!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
    peggylu likes this.
  11. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    So now we have the PGCE, SCITT, Teach First and Teach Last as teaching routes.

    What next? Teach in the Middle or Teach yourself to teach?
    peggylu likes this.
  12. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    Get the app and teach.
    peggylu likes this.
  13. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

  14. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

  15. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I admit I find it difficult to fathom the reasoning behind this scheme

    Teach First is one thing, fresh out of college, bags of energy and enthusiasm - why not teach for a while, see if you like it and if not, it gives you a few more years to decide what you really want to to.

    But Teach Last? Having worked your way up a pay scale, gaining lots of experience in what you're doing - why would you choose to switch late on to teaching and take a big pay cut? NTTOTM is one who has chosen to do this but surely there can't be many? Are the govt hoping to pick p those made redundant from elsewhere or are they going to offer real top-of-scale experienced-teacher salaries? (In which case why didn't they just hang on to all those experienced teachers they had in the first place?)
    peggylu likes this.
  16. Alldone

    Alldone Senior commenter

    If you have had a successful career, saved some money and have no mortgage then why not go in to teaching - you just have to pick the correct school and sector. I went in to teaching aged 35 and retired after 28 years teaching in private schools. Had a student teacher at our school who did his teaching practice at my school. He had retired from the police aged 50, on a full police pension and had a property buisness renting houses in Florida. Did not need the money, and was an awesome teacher. He is now a Head of Science at a large Indie school.

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