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Time to make a stand?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sxbpriory, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. sxbpriory

    sxbpriory New commenter

    The teacher workload is ridiculous to the point that most teachers feel too exhausted to actively complain. Many won't contribute to fighting this cause because ironically they are too busy catching up on marking, admin or preparation to find time to debate it, let alone read or reply to a disgruntled post or formulate an active opinion. Many don't have time or energy for union meetings, to fill in feedback surveys complaining about workload, to write to MPs or just scrutinise the ridiculous situation they are in to find solutions. They are desperately grasping at the brief moment of family time or friend time, the escapism of some sort (staring at their screens like zombies or the same page of a book for 30 minutes?) or have simply passed out.

    So - they eventually snap and leave teaching behind.

    What draws most people to teaching is a real desire to actually TEACH, a caring attitude and a wish to make a difference to their student's lives. As idealistic and naive as that sounds to some, it is a powerful motivator. Then, like worker drones, they continue in their routines doing the very best they can under immense pressure, because ultimately they know it is the children that will suffer if they don't.

    This system truly has a stranglehold on these people, who soldier on through adversity because they care more about the welfare of those they teach than their own health and personal lives. Their loyalty to the students is what the government relies on when introducing more and more needless bureaucracy. They know that most will bury their heads in the administrative sand while flailing their limbs wildly in an attempt to keep balance, too distracted to be defiant. It is sickening that this profession, and the character of those that enter it, is so manipulated and exploited. It is practically abuse.

    The children see it. Some sympathise and some take advantage. They're just being children. The parents see it. They often start their communication with "I know you're very busy ..." and yet continue with further demands. They sympathise, too, but they want the best they can get for their child in this competitive world. They're just being parents.
    We all know the profession is in crisis and it will only get worse. Many children sat in classrooms see young teachers appear with enthusiasm and disappear with their heads down low. Some of those children that considered the profession as a career choice have since thought twice.

    It is TIME to make a stand. It is time to respond and say “enough really is enough". (That is, if you can 'find the time' once you've finished reports, marking, meetings, lesson planning, telephoned parents, had training, done duties, been to briefing, read emails, replied, had your observation, found time to run an extracurricular activity or three, put that new initiative in place, adapted schemes to curriculum changes and responded to all your student's break, lunchtime and after school needs.)
    So wake up and make one!

    Now, who has time to formulate a plan and gather the troops?
  2. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Follow ASOSA for a start.

    If you ALL did it then it would make a difference.

    As long as you are in the NUT or NASUWT then they will back you.
  3. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    All I can say is I agree & with all that is happening something needs to be done!
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Lovely rant...and I agree with a fair part of it, certainly in many schools it is true.
    You formulate a plan and many posters will join up as your troops.
  5. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    And as around 90% of teachers are in one or the other then that's that problem solved then.
    NUT are probably the same, the higher levels at NASUWT are trying to rally the troops but when I look to stick my head over the parapet the numbers behind me look distinctly shaky.
    How can the troops be rallied? Any suggestions welcome.
    lizziescat and petenewton like this.
  6. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Although I always say the membership is the union. I think that the union needs to publicise the ASOSA more widely than at present.

    Meetings need to be help with school reps, details of the action sent to members (about the action) nothing else. Many teachers are not aware the action is continuing. Give it a high profile, tell members about success stories in other schools (there have been quite a few). Start to empower the members.

    It is then up to the members to stand up and be counted.
    johnberyl and petenewton like this.
  7. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Compassman is right. At my last place they had no idea what ASOSA was. However no matter how many times I told them that they didn't have to do all the time-consuming rubbish they were asked to do, they still did it. Most were NQTS, too scared of failing to do anything else and I can understand that. But sometimes, sadly, it became almost a competition as to who could work the hardest. I used to walk into the photocopying room and find them, ankle-deep in reams and reams of colour-coded, excessively detailed planning, and they just did it, every day, without question. They had been brain-washed into believing it was 'for the good of the children' and didn't seem to see that being stressed, exhausted and burnt out by it all did the kids no favours.

    The strategy is clear: get rid of the expensive older teachers and fill the gap with cheap NQTS that don't or can't question what is being asked of them because it's all they know.

    I made a stand and refused to do some of the rubbish, and I did get the backing of my regional rep but I was the only one. Thankfully the management at my new place seems slightly more sane but should the need arise, I would make the same stand over and over again.
    Landofla likes this.
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  9. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Unfortunately, there are too many union members who are paper tigers.


    The paper tigers roar at noon;
    The sun is hot, the sun is high.
    They roar in chorus, not in tune,
    Their plaintive, savage hunting cry.

    O, when you hear them, stop your ears
    And clench your lids and bite your tongue.
    The harmless paper tiger bears
    Strong fascination for the young.

    A D Hope

    joannagb and Mrsmumbles like this.
  10. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    You are cordially invited to join....the capability club badge of honour thread!
  11. hiddendavid

    hiddendavid New commenter

    May I suggest that what draws most people to teaching (fresh out of uni) is the idea of 13 weeks holiday a year?

    Before they find out the truth
    lardylady and Mrskeletor like this.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Do you have evidence for this assertion?
    I was drawn to teaching because I had always wanted to teach. And it used to be the best job in the world.
    silverfell85 likes this.
  13. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    Couldn't have put it better myself, OP! Below are my recent posts on various threads about this. The system feels very broken to me, and it is that which needs a drastic overhaul as even individual heads are under too much scrutiny themselves to be able to relieve much of the pressure on those below. But I don't think teachers really realise that they are working under unsustainable levels of work and stress until they leave. Even the ones who feel they are coping. And those who do don't often feel they can say/do anything because of fear/feelings of inadequacy and all the reasons mentioned in the OP, even with ASOSA/unions etc. It takes energy to fight, and can be quite risky depending on the school, so I understand why teachers don't.

    Anyway, my previous posts which give the rest of my views:

    "This is not going to help you in any way but it is my view from the 'outside' now that the job is actually impossible to do. Impossible to do everything that's expected well, at any rate, or to have any semblance of a properly balanced life without feelings of overwhelm/guilt at what you're not doing if you are a conscientious worker. So the 'helpful' bit is no, it's not you. And I'm finding myself increasingly sad at the number of teachers who are effectively being destroyed by a system which is UNNECESSARY. Sorry for shouty capitals but that's the tragedy of the whole thing. The bureaucracy, level of scrutiny, triplicate paper trails, overwhelming (and sometimes arbitrary) performance targets, relentless work/pressure/initiatives... And that's before you even get to the classroom teaching"

    "I actually wonder how most teachers are still standing. The answer, I fear, is that they either are very nearly not, or that they are sacrificing far too much of their own lives just to tread water. And because it feels like that has become the norm, that that is what's expected if you are a 'good, committed teacher', that at present there's no way out of it unless you leave teaching, and because those who are doing the job have no energy left after all that to fight the system or even realise quite how bad /widespread this is, the whole thing just continues. I don't teach anymore but I do feel like one day soon I am going to get involved in trying to get this changed because I work in mental health and it's just ludicrous. Not to mention immensely damaging to all involved - to teachers, families of teachers, children, and therefore society as a whole."

    "I feel the time has come to scrap targets, level descriptors, national tests, league tables, Ofsted inspections, & excessive observations, teacher scrutiny and data collection other than that required by well-trained (and happier/less stressed & overworked) classroom teachers, HoDs and Heads to measure actual progress/identify areas to be worked on. Kids start school, teachers teach and see where children get to. No amount of target setting/incessant examining will make children who are not capable of reaching a particular target get there. In fact it very probably has the opposite effect, leads to so much massaging of the figures that nothing is actually informative anymore, and takes up an inordinate amount of time that could be spent actually helping children/teachers rather than pretending to."
    Compassman likes this.
  14. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    There is action short of strike.
    Unfortunately, there are people in the profession who want to complain but then don't make any attempt to follow ASOS. Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming to be a saint and I know I don't follow it to the letter (schools these days make it almost impossible to do) but I certainly try. If we all just stepped back a little, it would send a message. Sadly, there are people who'll say yes to everything to make themselves look amazing only to find in 15 years time that they'll no longer be the bright young thing.
    Anonymity likes this.
  15. thethiefoftime

    thethiefoftime Occasional commenter

    Would someone please explain what ASOSA is? I haven't heard of it before...
  16. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Action Short of Strike Action. Nobody notices it, because so many teachers just say "Yes, of course, I'll get that to you by the end of the day," whenever the HT asks them for yet another action plan for a target group. (That's before they do the triple colour marking, update learning walls and fill in all the smart target cards for every child. )
  17. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

  18. GrammarBear

    GrammarBear New commenter

    I fully support concerted action. Not sure in what form though. The SATs boycott in 2009 was a failure and quite frankly an embarrassment to our profession. The number of schools and colleagues in my region that when it came to the crunch faltered was shameful. In uinon meetings their bravado and commitment wasn't matched when SATS week came. A different context in many ways but sadly quite revealing of our profession.

    I myself have just recently written to the education secretary and minister stating how demoralised I truly feel by so many aspects of teaching today. If I receive a reply at all. I will post on the TES.
    Anonymity and janemk like this.
  19. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    Have never heard of ASOSA - will now go and look at my union website for info...
  20. Brunettegirl

    Brunettegirl Occasional commenter

    It IS time to make a stand, but as many of us agree, it is very difficult unless we are totally united. In my experience, as teachers, we are sometimes each others worst enemies, for a number of reasons. We may be scared, anxious, bullied, looking to further our own career at the expense of others to name but a few. I have been in union meetings where staff have reported back to the head about exactly what was said and by whom, making any union action and intervention almost impossible.

    We have to stick together, but I bet we don't
    George_Randle, Anonymity and cissy3 like this.

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