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Teacher crisis (again)

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Maths_Shed, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    just wondering... if you were Teach First and tied in to a contract... But did not own a house and walked out with no income, exactly what will they win back in court?
  2. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    It's an exhausting, all-consuming job for younger graduates (and old hands, too). I think younger graduates expect to have their nose to the grindstone for the first few years of their career (yes - I know the notion of a career for life is moot these days!) but with the light on the horizon that it won't always be that way. Micorsoft -very famously - used to deliberately burnout their graduates but the six figure salary would be the reward!

    In teaching, there is no let-up; especially if you take on more responsibility (which is also the done thing these days: look at the number of UPS teachers being pushed out). For my primary-trained friends, weekend working (usually Sundays) is the norm. My SLT friends consider working 7.30am-7.30pm every weekday the norm and a good day if they can stay within those hours. For classroom teachers and middle leaders, you're also expected to be on-point all day everyday - there is little or no downtime which makes it stand out from every other job, I think. AT least SLT can have downtime in an office - not much, but more so than when you're in a classroom (if, indeed, you have the luxury of your own classroom in secondary!)

    I came into the profession at 30: before that, I had a series of public and private sector jobs, mostly desk-based. If I was under the weather, I could hunker down at my desk and do what I could - rearranging my day to allow me to still be productive but avoiding high-stress or energy situations if possible. Even then, if I had an important meeting or presentation, it was only an hour or two tops. As Roger the History Teacher says in the article below; teachers are expected to be amazing regardless of their health, the context of their class, their personal circumstances etc. etc. etc.

    There is a Beckett-type absurdity to the modern school - SLT double think, 'You're only human...no one can be perfect all the time...we care about your well-being/your lessons and books have to be perfect all the time and reflect an ever-shifting set of priorities and focusses that are deemed important this week.' As illustration:

    Teacher, 'I just wanted to let you know that my mum had just been diagnosed with cancer.'
    SLT bot, 'That's terrible, we're here for you. Let us know what we can do to help.'
    Teacher, 'Thank you, that means a lot.'
    [teacher gets up to leave.]
    SLT bot, 'By the way, you've got an observation next week, there'll be two learning walks - can't tell you when - and two book scrutinies...one for most-able, another for literacy. We still expect you to do the job.'
    Teacher, 'Yes, I understand.'
    SLT bot, 'Even though we are sympathetic to your situation, we still expect you to be OUTSTANDING ALL THE TIME.'

  3. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    I had two close friends who started their PGCE/School Direct at the same time as me.

    I got into private tutoring - I am fine and well but looking to get out of education as a "career" altogether.

    One had a breakdown and is still convalescing.

    Another is still on anti-depressants.

    This is why we have a crisis.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    This isn't SMT, this is everybody, and the school I m in now has a much lighter workd load than previous schools
    Mrsmumbles and agathamorse like this.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I think worklaod is a big issue, yes, but there is something else about teaching which means you are attacked on a personal level, that seriously erodes well being in a way that other critisism just doesn't. You put so much of yourself into teaching, and are exposed on such a personal level

    When I worked at Sainsbury's, for example, I was told I wasn't stocking shelves quickly enough. Objective, demonstrable, true. When I worked in a hospital, I was told things like there had been complaints I wasn't making tea strong enough, or cutting potatoes small enough.... non of these things are personal.

    In teaching you are told things like feedback not constructive enough, not putting enough personality into your lessons, voice not expressive enough, etc. Even if feedback is more specific, it is often contradictory. parents complain such and such a child doesn't like you, and you are picking on them, then the children tell you to eff off and die too,

    Its a constant barrage of personal abuse and critisism, that will drive you mad if you try and listen to it and evaluate it, because almost all of it is waffly, malicious or contradictory.

    Last year I was the subject of a learning walk from a SMT member who hadn't realised there was an official observation ongoing at he same time.

    The feedback from the learning walk, and from the pm obs were directly opposed to each other, in a very specific way.From two managers watching the same lesson at the same time, with the same school policies and objectives in front of them.

    They are both good people doing their best, but that has not always been the case with observers I have had in the past.

    so when good people doing their best give you such meaningless feedback with no agenda or malice intended, and you add to that the many cases when observers have an agenda, or the observee has insecurities, or the children stick their oar in at the same time.....

    it is soul destrying, quite literally, it tears your soul up,
  6. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    The above comment is completely true and very well expressed.

    The breaking point came for me when teachers started to get observed three times in the year even after passing the NQT year and having many years of experience. I don't need that stress in my life. Plus the people doing it are often younger and more inexperienced, but kissed somebody's backside to rise higher up.

    I am annoyed the unions did nothing to stopped it happening.

    If somebody came to me for advice, I would say that the PGCE is a useful qualification to have, as it opens up doors into many other routes. Personally speaking, I do supply, tutor from home and write books and I am studying for a masters to give me still more options still in the future.
  7. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Peter, all this and so much more gets sorted automatically if there is a school board that manages the hiring and firing of all state school staff. Why do you think other countries have such a system?
    henrypm0 and agathamorse like this.
  8. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Plus; I think you’ve underdone what effect the negativeness of some pupils have on you as well. This drives away the younger staff, those who’ve not developed the resilience or skills to cope. They get little support because everyone else is too busy being outstanding or spouting eduballox.
  9. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I remember in my first school in inner city England post NQT year; I was physically threatened by a male 6-foot GCSE student who tried to get me against a wall. His punishment for this? A day's internal exclusion along with a very insipid apology letter. My fellow NQT had a difficult Year 10 class with some quite malicious boys in there: one break time (pre lesson) they took it upon themselves to stack all the classroom furniture in the middle of the room. She was really upset by this; I mean, very shook up. The boys were snide and insidious in lots of little, tiny ways...four hours a week... week after week. And - true to form for teaching - how we react to these sort of things emotionally can very much depend on the day we're having, whether it's Monday morning or Friday afternoon, whether we've just done a difficult breaktime duty (she had), whether it's a five period day, whether it's the day after a parents evening where you got home at 10pm.... What really didn't hep the situation was the headteacher appearing to sort it out: he chuckled, said, 'boys will be boys' and just made them apologise there and then (no more repercussions) - all but tousling their hair! He was, on the whole, a good HT but he made a bad call in this case.
  10. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @englishtt06 Grieving teacher's wife: "I am sorry to have to tell you that my husband had a heart attack yesterday evening and died in intensive Care."

    DH: "I'm sorry to hear that. Did he leave any cover work, before he died?"

    Very corrosive is the snide, insidious criticism, which makes you doubt yourself.

    SMT: "I'm sure you think that you are doing your best but have you asked yourself whether it is really enough?"
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  11. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, added: “Our own research shows that 81% of teachers have considered leaving the profession in the last year because of workload, driven in a large part by time-consuming data gathering that has little or nothing to do with children’s education.

    “Real-terms pay cuts have put teaching far behind other graduate professions and, in London and other hotspots around the country, very high rents have also contributed to the problem. It is no surprise that, faced with this, teachers leave the profession.”
  12. a1976

    a1976 Occasional commenter

    I'm a supply teacher who may or may not be continuing at the school I'm in. My time is up in January anyway. However, every other day, there is something that makes the job so much more unbearable. To top it off, there is some unqualified teacher who is in charge of y8 who likes to move Y8 students into different sets just for the sake of moving them. I usually get them in my lessons (or did last year). Another thing is a favourite or darling feels they are doing too much, then some of their lessons gets piled onto some other teacher's timetable (again, mine).

    I have actually found that they newer and younger members are the ones making the job so unbearable as they seem to think the job is an extension of university. Some of the newer staff did not even go to university.
    henrypm0, Mrsmumbles and agathamorse like this.
  13. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    What is difficult to accept is that Teachers are expected to be all things to all people. Teachers are often their own worst enemy and can be very self-critical anyway, they do not need constant scrutiny.
    Criticism then hits them very hard, and it usually comes from observers who can't do the job any better themselves!
  14. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Yes, and even without the pressure from above some of us put too much pressure on ourselves. We all want to do the very best we can and when circumstances make that impossible we blame ourselves (and often run ourselves into the ground in a futile attempt to compensate for whatever deficiencies there are in the system or the school).
  15. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    How very true. What a sad state of affairs. However, it wasn't always like this.
  16. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Don't think primary is far behind secondary in collapsing. Behaviour is less threatening but often just as exhausting and fewer teachers are staying beyond 2 or 3 years. Many are effectively not returning after maternity leave. The workload and expectations are more extensive than for most secondary jobs and go on for every ay of the year with no let up.
    I'm sure I'm in a majority of experienced teachers who cannot believe what has been allowed to happen to our education system and can now not wait to get out, hopefully in just about one piece.
    henrypm0, Alice K, MarieAnn18 and 3 others like this.
  17. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    I think we all went into this with a memory of our own school experience.

    When I left school in 1988, the teachers had nearly all been there for over ten years; some had been there for 30 or more years. At least one had taught two generations of kids - parents and their children.

    Never once did I see one of those teachers being watched or observed by another member of staff to check on their abilities. Never once (to my knowledge) were books taken in to check they had been marked properly. No purple pens or fancy stickers - but I received a decent education that has stood by me in life.

    I asked a year 10 pupil at an academy the other day (I do supply) about changes in teachers:

    He could only think of two or three teachers who have remained at the school since he started in Year 7 -the rest had moved on. I bet a fair proportion have left teaching altogether.
  18. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Interesting points, Peter, but you can be sure that they would make it virtually impossible to get onto any UPS. thereby ensuring that they still retain a large and eminently fireable workforce on MPS. And I know this as I was on UPS3. I got shortlisted a lot and,mysteriously, always rejected in favour of NQTs. The pattern emerges and one joins up the dots. Schools should set moral values and be microcosms of a good and supportive ideal society, not stress head hotbeds of ageism, sexism and poor management. So that's another reason good and experienced staff leave. They have totally lost respect and trust for the school system and cannot rely on career progression or job security anymore. Ironically, there is a desperate need for them to stay, but nobody values them enough to pay them properly. With kids and a mortgage, you cannot rely on the ****** running schools these day to offer fair appraisal, UPS transitions, or even transitions from school to school. We cannot trust the references, the 'here's what i really think of him' bitchy unprofessional phone calls, whether capability does or does not denote a lack of competence. We no longer have pay portability. Historically, teacher relocated a lot to rise the career ladder. The one benefit of being on UPS is that you have the insight and experience to see how stuffed and broken the English education system is. PRP has failed. Every aspect of vacancy advertising, the rise of recruitment agencies, fat backhanders, rigged ageist interviews, aggressive ageist appraisals, dishonest and 'how on earth did Gove keep this legal?' 'capability procedures, work related stress, cashing in pensions at 5 or younger....anyone who wants to still work would quite sensibly retrain rather than accept this rubbish as the new normal. Also a lot of HODS are not progressing and they cannot recruit enough Heads. In the end, the whole system will stagnate and atrophy, Just in time for AI ed-u-like apps to fill the gap. Hmmm. Anyone for Finland?
    henrypm0, Jamvic, Catgirl1964 and 2 others like this.
  19. tonymars

    tonymars Occasional commenter

    Dunnocks: "parents complain such and such a child doesn't like you..."

    Words fail me..
  20. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

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