Systems... Been mulling this one over for a while. I've not felt like a competent, trusted professional fulfilling a demanding but rewarding job for a while. Instead, I've felt like a cog in a machine. Maybe it's age bringing on disillusionment. Maybe I've been in one school too long. Or maybe the systems have taken over. Now please understand I base this entirely on my experiences, so if your experience is different... well, I'm happy for you. I hope you have better experiences. And if you find this too vague then sorry but I have to be vague. See the systems are what will crush you down. You imagine the behaviour system is there to moderate and control the pupils behaviour? I'm sure you do, after all what other purpose could it serve? Well if you work in a school with systems then the other purpose is statistics. Useless statistics drawn up by ill educated types but still, statistics. Remove a pupil once? Nothing gets noticed. But if you keep implementing that system, following that policy, removing pupils who are disrupting the learning of others... then someone will be having a word with you, about your problem with behaviour... even though it's the system of the school. Or data. Ah data. We all love data. So you fill in the data, nice and honest of you, well done good boy/girl for being honest. Ah, hang on... the data doesn't match their targets. You're under the 70% threshold for the year group. A box has turned red in an air conditioned office somewhere and middle management are now having a chat with you. Thing is, you were honest. Well why don't you change the data. Raise it. Go on. And we need 3 sublevels of progress [sublevels?!?!?] so can you start being a bit more generous please, stop marking so harshly. Come on, it's key stage 3 results, who cares really. Ah GCSE grades, targets, based on? Based on their achievement at KS3. But hang on this pupil is expected to get a B? Come on they'll scrap a D [or a numerical equivalent in the new style grading system]. Oh but it's a B because their year 9 teacher gave them a level 6b. Well OK... So you want a pay rise? Jump through the hoop of the target then. Doesn't matter if that target hovers at 5 metres up, jump jump. Ah well you missed, but hey your pay freeze keeps the wage packet down so don't you fret. But remember, keep jumping next year, you never know you might make that 5m leap. Ah but you didn't do the leap while juggling eggs and a flaming torch. Sorry. Oh didn't we tell you that was the expectation? Sorry should have said, slipped our minds. And these are the systems. Even if you meet one target, you raised the uptake at A-Level. You implemented a whole new course. You wrote 6 schemes of work that no-one looks at. It doesn't matter because in the weak school, the close to failing school, you'll never be good enough. After all, it's a close to failing school. How can you ever be good enough? The systems though cannot be questioned. Question data? Ask for an explanation of statistical significance? ... don't be daft. Question the lesson observation outcomes [entirely subjective readings and don't fall for dual observations, the senior SLT bod is always right], question the work scrutinies [done in private with no comparison made to other teachers work but really just reflective of the low regard you are held in by SLT]... do not question the systems. The systems cannot be wrong. Why can't they be wrong? Because people have built careers on those systems. Their reputation is built on them. Data? Data is now the quick route to promotion. You'll steam ahead in data. So don't go exposing the Emperor's nudity for the crowds. Just carry on pretending his dong isn't on show. Systems that are inflexible destroy teachers. They live by feeding on teachers. You might think I'm joking, being extreme. Today I saw another colleague start being fed to the system, chewed up, digested, ready to be **** out the end. This isn't a workplace dilemma. It's my thoughts. They might not match your experience. I am happy for you. But they match many peoples experience. Sad that really.