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Why aren’t teachers treated as professionals anymore?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    One teacher raises the issue of why it’s become common place to question teachers’ abilities even though there is evidence to show that they are doing a good job:

    ‘Sometimes I get the feeling that simply sitting down talking, and well, teaching, pupils just isn’t enough. Surely it should be.

    Just like with the electrician above, if the outcome is what is needed surely the only evidence you need is me. I can tell you about my pupils, I can tell you what I have done, how they’ve progressed in my subject. When you want to know about my class, just ask.

    I could write it on a lesson plan, a seating plan, in marking but guess what’s quicker? Asking me.’

    The writer is a teacher in the UK

    What do you think? Are you frustrated that you are not allowed to just do the job without people questioning your ability? Why do you think it has become common to question teachers’ ability to do the job? Is this part of the growing scrutiny that teachers are unfortunately under?

    agathamorse likes this.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I was. I was fortunate to be able to move to an environment where they trusted me.

    There are a lot of teachers. A lot of them are quite smart people and like to question instructions. Sometimes it feels as if micromanagement and unsettling teachers is part of the rationale of some managers needing to feel that they have everybody toeing the corporate line.
    In addition, if funds are short and not everyone can have a payrise it's easier to say "you didn't hit these targets, sorry" than "no cash, sorry".
    In addition we have an inspectorate / compliance management organisation that puts school leaderships under enormous pressure (see todays other big news artilce about school managers hitting the bottle) - this gets translated down.

    The Government likes to claim it is getting "value for money". The public scrutiny is directed at the soft targets (school and teacher accountability) rather than the lack of value that may accrue because of dogmatic decisions (free schools, academisation, private finance, subcontracting and the like)
  3. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    A part of the problem in schools amongst professionals is claiming ideas that belong to others.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I started my teaching career thinking of myself as a professional, in that I was trusted to do a professional job and given the latitude of do it in my own way. Then, it was the outcome that was important, not so much the process. By the end of my career, I did not think of myself as a professional as I felt profoundly distrusted, by my managers and nearly everyone else. I felt about as trusted as the inmate of high security prison who has wandered too near the wall of the exercise yard.
    BetterNow, tenpast7, Jamvic and 7 others like this.
  5. medialyf

    medialyf New commenter

    I am an NQT (technically, I did a placement year as part of my 1-year PGCE, so this is my second year of teaching) on my first paid teaching job and while I get the need to check me throughout my probationary period, I have had about 5 observations in my first 6 weeks of term so far. The college I work at are saying it's part of the induction process for new teachers, which I get, but part of it feels like a doubt in my ability to do the job they hired me to do before I've had a chance to do it. Not to mention the amount of mandatory CPD every other week every member of the teaching staff has to undergo which often cuts of 30-45 mins of lesson time at the end of the day... when is our teaching qualification, our degree, and all the other training we have done to get to this job enough?
    BubsyChicken and phlogiston like this.
  6. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop Occasional commenter

    This is a very simplistic view but ..... education is now big business. When I started teaching 30 years ago, with the introduction of the NC in 1989, teachers were still trusted to teach and deliver in their own way. Then came Ofsted and the tightening began; we began to be bombarded about what 'they' wanted to see/evidence within the classroom. Then 'Baker' days which gave rise to the 'experts' hiring themselves out to schools to tell us how to do it better. Now, education is a stream of evidence, data, initiatives, acronyms, strategies that have become an everyday part of school life that keep lots of people up the food chain in very well paid positions and more people joining them, rather than being in a classroom doing the job. Do schools /education need this? I think not. As well as teachers' professionalism, a lot of common sense has gone out of the window. Sorry, just my opinion!
  7. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop Occasional commenter

    So I suppose the point which I was trying to make, but may have got lost in my ramble, is that it is no longer in the interests of those involved in the education business to treat teachers as educated professionals ... what would be the point of all the consultants etc?
  8. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I've been teaching for twenty years, and in that time the job has changed completely. It used to be the case that a secondary school teacher was a subject specialist, the skill in the job was presenting the subject matter in the correct order and at the correct level to make it intelligible to the students. We then used professional judgement to see whether anyone could do better and took some actions to address the problem.

    Schools now seem to buy in lessons and schemes of work, so teaching has become more of an admin role - teachers read out the lesson materials, give students pre-prepared tests, and type the results into a spreadsheet. You don't need to be a graduate professional to do that.
  9. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Teachers are now simply the bottom rank of a hierarchical structure that regards them as part of a manufacturing process where the quality control department will never be happy with a 70% success rate and demands that someone outside their sphere of expertise or influence be responsible for evermore improvements.
    BetterNow, TCSC47 and agathamorse like this.
  10. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    One reason might be the increase in employing people without QTS to jobs formerly done by qualified teachers. The management in schools where staff are unqualified may feel more justified in questioning and micro-managing their staff more closely.

    BTW - what happened to this morning's "spot the difference" thread on the erasure of women in competitive sport. It looked very interesting. It seems to have disappeared without trace.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. drek

    drek Star commenter

    The double standards in the system are staggering. You often have lead teachers being told to trial resources which they prepare on their TLR freed up time, with their fewer groups, using the department/school budget as part of their evidence cycle for leadership.

    Next step they are asked to ‘model’ this at a CPD and ask the rest of the school staff to roll it out to their students but also to fund the resources out of their own pockets and on their home time.....or else.....(the school version of the Cinderella syndrome).......

    And they will pop round in two or three weeks to observe evidence, take photos of successful implementation of yet another idea for the next CPD and ‘speak’ to those who haven’t because they are teaching an academic heavy based subject with no free time to meet this sudden new demand!

    How about a reality check for the awesome ones in the system? Particularly the ones constantly praying to the god of ladders?

    There are disaffected students who can’t cope with any let alone the increased academic elements in some subjects. There are severely ADHD, dyslexic students who can’t/won’t use the differentiated tools provided, and understandably act out their stress in exhausting ways, yet no support staff is made available for them except in year 11 mocks to ‘read’ on request. If managers don’t know who these students are they doing their job right?

    those who have less teaching on their time table....ask not what ‘more’ an overworked stressed out teacher can do.....instead spend your leadership hours usefully taking on and preparing those who can’t cope with mainstream but were dumped there to meet dfe/school/OFSTEd/political targets and the latest budget pressures......prepare them for life outside school, even though some may be more brutally prepared than others already sadly......

    Don’t waste your time copying and pasting educational resources into the latest placemats of ‘learning/school name buzzword’ and adding to the perpetual motion workload crisis of teachers who teach the majority of the disaffected all day and already have/can prepare subject specialised resources for that purpose.

    You too are responsible for student standards.......but have conveniently narrowed its scope down to scrutinising and perpetually improving those staff brave enough to stay and teach the difficult subjects to unbearable levels.....
    BetterNow, lanokia, tenpast7 and 8 others like this.
  12. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I agree with @drek, @neddyfonk et. al. In the last 10 -15 years of my teaching career, increasingly I felt like the poor mule in a game of 'Buckaroo', as more and more irrelevant tasks were piled on me, mostly by managers who did not have to implement them. Unlike the mule though, I could not kick off my load when it became unbearable. Instead of 'Buckaroo', I just 'buckled'.
  13. RaggyBull

    RaggyBull New commenter

    Adding onto these points, I feel teachers are easy targets for some parents to come and shout the odds as they know we are restricted in how we can respond and our standing in society appears to be getting lower and lower.

    Parents also come in questioning decisions (such as which group they might be in) when we are supposed to be the professionals and should know what we’re doing!
  14. roberwilson_01

    roberwilson_01 New commenter

    What is professionalism according to you?? Teachers have been forced to listen to the corporate-styled version of professionalism for decades, they’re making their voices heard on the streets. Why? Because the non-educators outside of the school never listened to the version cherished by teachers.
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Well...as the qualifications stand..,I think that you still do, if you want the students to do well. To get lots of level 5,4 and 3, probably not. Then they will dumb down the curriculum even more and the Gradgovian revolution will be complete.
  16. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I became very VERY bucked off.
  17. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Me too. For the vast majority of my time in teaching, I have been treated very well by managers and this has generally included a respect for my professional autonomy.
    thekillers1 likes this.
  18. install

    install Star commenter

    The moment some 'head teachers' refused to teach a single less lesson, allowed academies in, and did not support other teachers or the art of teaching was the 'death bell' of a profession.

    Uk society now sees teachers as child minders. Well paid critics such as Ofsted see teachers as scapegoatsand easy fodder for punishment. And teachers see themselves as poorly paid and overworked people with no pay mobility, no Union rights in places, and no voice.
  19. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Treated like a naughty child is another wording that springs into mind whilst reading this section.
  20. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Non-education specialists ordering the educationalists around. That’s the summary of the issue.

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