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Well that's that then. Goodbye Mr Chips...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by dleaf12, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    This seems to be the story of "Every Teacher" these days.

    Rotating door recruitment can only be a sticking plaster for these problems.

    Well done dleaf for achieving what you did.
     
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  2. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Let's hope the OP goes on to use their experience and wisdom to influence the current and future generation of educational decision makers *if they still have the energy... these are the people who should be developing educational policy, we would respect them and they would know what they are doing.

    Well done and congrats to the OP.
     
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  3. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    An excellent post, sadly. Please bring it to a wider audience.

    Best wishes for the next phase of your life.
     
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  4. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    It's been the post of the year, so far as I'm concerned.

    I don't have any direct experience of working in schools as a teacher, but it sums up the negative culture I witnessed develop over the twelve or so years I visited schools.

    In 2001 I was invited to a school to demonstrate a laser cutter, something that at that time was new to schools. The school purchased one and enthusiastically set about developing a diverse range of projects to use it with.

    They were given two days of training in how to use it, which they asked to be focused around the projects they'd devised. For those two days, they were given the time to make the most of their training with no interruptions. When I met those teachers again, I discovered they'd produced some fantastic, creative work with their machine.

    As word spread and more schools were finding the money to buy these machines, I noticed a subtle, but gradually increasing change of focus. What had begun as a tool to inspire creativity, started to become a tool to tick boxes with. The quality of imagination that went into the projects diminished. Because laser cutters are much faster at producing results than other CNC machines, they became seen as essential tools to get through the coursework.

    The time allocated to training became inadequate. Hardly any teachers were able to get the full benefit of it. They always had to nip off to cover lessons or attend to other duties. The consequence was misuse of the machines in one way or another, resulting in expensive repairs. I encountered stressed out teachers, desperate to get their machine running again, because without it, the coursework couldn't be completed in time.

    I found it pathetic in the extreme. The entire point of having such a machine went over everyone's head. You needed one to complete the coursework. Touching a button to set the machine going ticked the box that proved you'd covered the CNC content of the coursework and my heart bled for what those kids might have done. It bled for the teachers too. Was this what the teaching of technology had come to?

    Lions led by donkeys. Is there anything sadder to watch than a lion beaten into submission to the extent it allows its tamer to put his head in its mouth and extract it intact?
     
  5. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    You weren't a school's Minister by any chance were you? Sorry that made me laugh anyway. :D:D:D
     
    lanokia likes this.
  6. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    A School's Minister lasting for 12 years? We're 'lucky' if one lasts for 12 months ...
     
    needabreak and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Could have been visiting in a different capacity... IWB sales person for example :D:D:D
     
    lanokia likes this.
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I do hope that you stated 31st August as your official last day of employment so that you'd get the holiday pay that you've earned.
     
    Dragonlady30, Lara mfl 05 and lanokia like this.
  9. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    It's the same everywhere - that's why teachers are leaving in such numbers.

    For the first time EVER I am starting to feel unenthused about teaching.
     
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Good luck for the future.
     
    Dragonlady30 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. moose2

    moose2 New commenter

    I am so shocked to read this. It sums up how I have felt a bout teaching for the last few years, what worries me is that the future holds worse conditions for all of us - with the forthcoming budget cuts. My OH thinks I am joking when I say I want out after decades in teaching. This needs to go to a wider audience TES.
     
  12. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I have always been passionate about teaching, but would not want to be teaching in the current climate any more and have been advising prospective teachers to think in terms of a maximum of 10-12 years with their 'get-out plan' worked out well in advance.
    If you'd asked me that 10 years ago I would have had a very different answer. :(
     
  13. dleaf12

    dleaf12 Lead commenter

    Wow – I wasn’t expecting that much of a response! - thank you to all you lovely people for all your good thoughts.

    @TheoGriff – I should have thanked you along with my colleagues as instrumental support to my sanity – your posts and advice helped me at numerous points in my career even to the point of resigning when (and thanks for highlighting the issue @jubilee), your template letter guided me to put 31st August as my last day of employment, 21st July the last day of attendance.

    However @needabreak I’m not so sure I would set myself up as a policy advisor – you see the leaders of the school I joined were good at their jobs, I certainly could not have done better, yet it was they who steered our school to this place we’re at now.

    How did that happen? They didn’t set out to make things awful, and when you talk one to one with them they seem as concerned about it as I am but seem not to be empowered to do much about it. Yes there are detailed things that could be done to make life a bit easier, but it seems the pressure we classroom teachers are feeling is coming via the school leadership from outside school.

    As for cause, I think at the root of it is the whole marketised, school v school, league-table competition ecosystem, aided and abetted by the vested interests of the edu-data industry who keep peddling their pernicious pseudo-science to politicians hungry for the next quick-fix sound-bite friendly initiative.

    Using pupil-metrics to judge a school serves neither well, since the latter is not properly represented by the former, and the former will be “gamed” to improve the standing of the school, not benefit the pupils. A school is more than the sum of its pupil’s exam attainments, and pupils get more from school than their exam certificates.

    Therein lies the point, the desperate need of the politicians to measure and compare has also caused a focus on exam grades as the sole objective of education, not only with policy makers but also in the minds of public and commentators alike.

    No one is talking about what education is for in the 21st century, with its fast-moving, post-industrial, information-linked world. The way some of our school leavers end up earning their living was sometimes not even invented when they chose their GCSE options, so what should we have been doing with them during those 5 years?

    Fixing this doesn’t need advice, it needs a fundamental change of philosophy from the politicians, one that is informed by a wide-spread, measured debate about what we want from our education system and what we are willing to spend to get it. Then the professionals need to be left in peace to deliver it.

    However right now I've got a set of Year8 exams to mark, and later I'll start working on my bucket-list while I work out the details of my personal next steps.
     
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    The one thing that hasn't been talked about for years in most schools are it's pupils and their aspirations.

    It's all a numbers game these days.
     
    InkyP, dleaf12 and Mangleworzle like this.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I posted this cartoon before, but it also fits in so well with (one) of the points made by the OP in his excellent analysis:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. cb324

    cb324 Occasional commenter

    Good luck OP. I was in the same boat as you and will be leaving in Easter, although only after 5 years rather than 12. It took years of flip-flopping on whether to take the plunge. I knew I had to go when the next meeting was all about unannounced observations and how they won't be judging us. This was despite them giving us a checklist of everything they will be looking for :rolleyes:

    Have you found a job yet OP?
     
  17. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Careers provision almost non-existent in many places and far too much money for overpaid spreadsheet jockeys.

    The realisation that kids were a crop to be harvested for their grades sounded the death knell for me.
     
  18. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    An excellent post @dleaf12 - and one that should be compulsory reading for the Secretary of State for Education.
     
    Lara mfl 05 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  19. smurphy6

    smurphy6 Senior commenter

    Good luck for the future. This is how I feel about teaching over recent years. Enjoy your freedom from data, book looks, meetings and all the other things that get in the way.
     
    Lara mfl 05 and Dragonlady30 like this.
  20. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I think @Lara mfl 05 is absolutely right. Teaching is a short term career, whether you undertake it after university or come to it later. Unless you've become SLT after a few years, no point in staying. Too expensive!
     
    Lara mfl 05 and Dragonlady30 like this.

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