Dear Prime Minister….from teachers everywhere.

Dear Prime Minister,

Firstly let me introduce myself, I represent the many – the many teachers who today are worrying about the future of education. I am a newly qualified teacher. I come from a council house background. I have a 2:2 in my degree…and I’m probably not good enough in your eyes to be a teacher.

Mr. Cameron, you only have to glance at Twitter or Facebook and you will see thousands of teachers who today are afraid. Afraid of the future of education. Surely you must be thinking to yourself why? Why are so many teachers today afraid of what the future may hold? I can tell you some reasons why.

Gove. I hear he won awards for his teaching! No? I hear he was a real expert on education! No? But yet you trusted him to make a whole host of changes without really knowing what’s going on in our classrooms. Thanks a lot for that one! I had high hopes for Morgan, but still, as far as I’m aware she isn’t an ‘expert’ or a teacher. Just because you’ve been to school it doesn’t make you an expert on how to run one. I went to hospital once, perhaps I should try to be Health Minister?

Have you ever realized that children aren’t robots? Children all progress at different rates, I’m sure that your educational experts Gove and Morgan have told you all about this? No? Then why do you expect children to all reach a certain standard in their exams at the end of primary school, and when they don’t reach this standard make them re-sit it. Well here’s some news for you Mr. Cameron some children will never make that standard, not because they don’t want to, some of them just can’t. Our brains are all wired in different ways, and sometimes really awful things happen during childhood and life’s focus has to change from academia to survival. You can’t expect everyone to be the same. Somebody once wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” How do you think a child is supposed to feel every time they fail that test. Yes Mr. Cameron children do learn from failure, but what if they never pass? Are they deemed to be a failure their whole life?

But its not just at Primary school we are going to make children feel like failures, you are expecting all children to take a language and humanities at GCSE. Whilst I appreciate taking a breadth of subjects, some children just aren’t cut out for GCSEs. Especially in those subjects. Why can’t they take subjects which interest them? Do you know how many children struggle with languages? They also struggle with English. Why force a child to take a GCSE that they don’t want to do. Do you know what happens when you back children into a corner? Why not offer them more vocational subjects? Oh wait…you don’t recognise vocational subjects on your League Tables.

Vocational subjects are so valuable to so many people, and from a teacher’s point of view students are more likely to focus, engage and try in subjects that they are interested in. Have you ever tried to teach a bottom set French class Mr. Cameron? I’ve seen teachers try every strategy they know with their classes and some of those children will never pass and they constantly feel like failures. Growth Mindset I hear you say sir? Yes, I’m totally on board with Growth Mindset, but you need to understand that some children will never understand the complexities of the imperfect tense, quadratic equations or oxbow lakes.

So I guess what I’m trying to say Sir, is that your EBACC idea needs to…how can I put this politely…do one? Give children the choice in their qualifications. After all they are THEIR qualifications, not the schools, not their teachers and most definitely not yours. We always say children should leave school with the qualifications they need to be successful in life – a handful of F-grade GCSES or a glowing BTEC. Think carefully Mr. Cameron. You need to think about the future, give children the tools to succeed not the sour taste of constant failure.

Teacher workload Mr. Cameron! Do you go home every day and start your day again? Have you heard of a work-life balance? I earn £22000 a year and I work 90+ hour weeks on average. I work, I sleep, I repeat. Oh wait…I get 12 weeks holiday a year, I can guarantee you Prime Minister that I spend at least 8 of those weeks planning, marking and researching. I will let you do the maths, and you will soon see that I earn way below minimum wage for what I do. And it’s not just me; it’s the majority of teachers. We work our backsides off to be told that we are still not good enough and that the goalposts are going to change once again. We are all tired, over-worked and under-paid. What are you going to do about this? What are you going to do about teacher workload? Have you or your Education Minister ever tried to teach a class or 5, and then mark their books, and look at their data and make sure they are on track, then consider interventions for those who aren’t because they need to be make 3 levels of progress but they’re not because they’ve gone backwards? Yes Prime Minister, children’s levels do go backwards, progress isn’t linear – can you please stop thinking it is!

Budgets. We are in a deficit, and it scares us all that there won’t be enough money going into schools. Our class sizes are already growing, and so many teachers are afraid that we will not have the money to keep our resources going. We can see budgets shrinking. Teachers’ timetables are growing. We are being stretched in every direction and eventually something has to give. We can see belts being tightened. What’s your plan Mr. Cameron? 1 book between 5? I already buy a lot of my own resources, is that the expectation? If my wages don’t increase alongside all of the other life increases how am I supposed to afford that? So many people are afraid that the NHS will disappear, will I have to factor medical care into my financial plans?

I guess what I’m trying to say Mr. Cameron is that we need some promises. Please don’t further destroy our already broken education system. Teachers are the glue holding all of the pieces together. But start picking at that glue and it won’t hold. I don’t have to tell you the statistics related to the number of teachers leaving within the first 5 years. You keep raising the retirement age but I think I’m going to be burnt out by the time I’m 40. I’m trying to be optimistic Prime Minister I really am, but I think most teachers are struggling to be optimistic right now. Please leave us to do our job, to educate our children not just academically but in life skills also. Please don’t bring back Gove, nobody wants that, in the nicest possible way Sir, he wasn’t very good at his job and his face puts us off of our morning cornflakes.

Think about it, Mr. Cameron. The only way you will keep good quality teachers is by keeping your promises, not moving the goal posts every few months and by accepting that not every fish can climb a tree. Needless to say Prime Minister I’m going to be watching very carefully, just like every other teacher in the country. Think about the future, those students –  they’re my future, your future and the UKs future. Don’t destroy them.

Yours faithfully,

Teachers everywhere.

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295 thoughts on “Dear Prime Minister….from teachers everywhere.

  1. Actually just double checked “ised” isn’t even US. Only dictionary it appears in (other than as an alternative spelling) is Collins. Just in case you’re wondering a teacher always checks, owns up to errors and then corrects. Maybe that’s why we work so hard. Wish other employees (perhaps politicians) did the same.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. After 29 years and 90 days I gave up on teaching. I have been driving buses now for 3 years. It breaks my heart to read how politicians continue to decimate the rotting carcass of education. This will always be the case whilst ever politicians view schools as nothing more than an expensive form of child-minding.

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  3. You’re a teacher who doesn’t believe in trying to get the best out of pupil, and appear to back a system that discriminates against the less able. Maybe we should bring back the grammar system?

    Quite scared that you say many teachers feel this way

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Am I? Where did I say that? The best for one pupil may be a D, the next pupil an A. Am I discriminating against the less able – or am I saying that we should offer a wide range of courses to suit more needs? Read carefully!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Hi I’m Rory,
        I’m a yr 10 student, a year has passed since I picked my gcse options, and I hated picking what I had to pick I was so optimistic about taking cooking technology and resistant materials but due to the EBACC system and the limit of four options my school had put in place I had to put French down as it was the only EBACC subject I was (and this is how the teacher put it) ‘well equipt for and partaking in well enough’, and I hate French. But my mom listend to what the school said then me, then we both went and spoke to the head of my school who offered no help and actually phoned the depty head up so we could be escorted out of his office (we were been peacefull and quite). The education system in my eyes as a student is unfair on teachers with these policy’s they set and they then have a direct effect on my education and many students around the country.

        Rory valance

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      2. TED you’ve got it completely and utterly wrong! I am a teacher and feel strongly towards the issues highlighted in this letter. It is not that we would see a child not gaining his or her best in their learning but that their learning should be able to be tailored to get the best out of that child. We, as teachers, are thoroughly trained in the way in which we scaffold children to find their very best but funneling them all through the same traditional education subjects isn’t going to produce their best. Society has a need for a hair dresser, a bin man, a road sweep yet those people who add to society with their valuable input tend to view or be viewed as less successful because they are likely to have less formal qualifications. They are undervalued. And the root of all that starts in our children’s early education and the changes the government have forced upon the, mainly through the aim of seeing the UK perform higher on international league tables. Please reconsider your statement. Teachers care tremendously about the child’s best.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t think this teacher was saying they don’t believe in pushing their pupils in achieving the best they can. This teacher in my opinion was saying why judge all by the same brush. If we look at gardeners theory on multiple intelligence, then it is clear some people learn better in different ways

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      1. I retired from teaching nearly 20 years ago, seems like yesterday.
        when the key stage exams came in, we said then that the base line would be different for every child. nothing has changed , it made no difference then and now it has moved into the secondary stage it has just got worse.

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    3. I don’t think she is. You can be realistic about a pupil’s limitations but still encourage them to aim as high as they can. Some pupils will know that however hard some children try to aim for the moon they will never reach the stars, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to try. I did that at a very disadvantaged school for 31 years, never meeting the targets which are geared to the prosperous schools in leafy suburbs. But I know I could get results in their schools but they had no idea how to teach in mine.

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    4. No she didn’t say that at all – she said that it would be a better system if all students were able to follow courses suited to their own needs and strengths – and then we would get the most out of all them , rather than follow the one size fits all (ie grammar school style system) that the government advocates. THAT is what most teachers want.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a headteacher. I’d be very happy to show Thomas what life in a school is really like.

    I have 60 members of staff, all of whom work above and beyond the hours I can pay them for but they know they are making a difference to the lives of the children.

    I have a most wonderful team and I know that, in one of the most socially deprived areas of the country, our children make amazing progress and achieve very well. This is because we have high expectations but we also have to buy in mental health workers, counsellors, learning mentors, speech therapists and countless other forms of support.

    There’s a much bigger picture out there than JUST academic achievement. For some children, arriving at school to be fed, dressed in clean clothes and to feel safe, means that they can access education. That’s what Mr Gove missed because his only knowledge of education was his own.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think the gold-plating of standards by SLTs putting statistics above staff welfare is a key part of the problem with the current system. Often this is driven by the career aspiration/ salary rather than their chosen vocation. Education under Tory guidance is shambolic in terms of the curriculum, student experience and staff welfare. Head teachers should be leading the case for the defence

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    2. Thank goodness for head teachers like yourself and teachers like Blondegeography. I was beginning to lose faith all together. Keep up the good work. We must continue to follow our moral judgements and not act like sheep heading to the slaughter. Do what you know is best for the child…. always.

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  5. Don’t know where to start on this one! So teachers work 90 hour weeks and spend 8 of their 12 week Summer holidays marking work and researching. Teachers work extremely hard and do a great job with huge personal satisfaction rewards. Overstating the hours worked does nothing to persuade readers as to the authenticity of the rest of the argument.

    In relation to expertise, I’ve had the benefits of some really great teachers all of whom were able to bring out the best in a great variety of children with different abilities, and keep them interested and motivated. Isn’t that what being a great teacher is about?

    Vocational subjects unfortunately were used by a SMALL minority of teachers to cheat the system and give better performance levels than the children deserved, in an effort to achieve targets.

    As for everyone needing specific experience in a subject before allowing them to decide on policies and processes, your argument means that Sir Richard Branson would need have flying and train driving experience, etc. etc. The reality is that many experts and interested parties ARE consulted before decisions are made.

    I truly believe that our Educational system IS flawed, and always has been. We consider only a very narrow range of academic abilities when educating, recognising and rewarding ability and talent. We need to understand that ALL children and adults have talent which needs to be nurtured and recognised. Just because those talents don’t sit into our neat arbitrary measures of success doesn’t render them unimportant.

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    1. Do you know me? Do you watch my every move and count up the hours that I work? They are not overstated. They are true. Ask my partner who has watched me sit and mark and plan through weekends and school holidays. Read my other post.

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      1. Most days during the week I’m working from 7am until about 11pm. Weekends I’m doing work each morning normally. If not all day. Of course I have a few breaks in between. The working time differs each day – depending on what is going on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My wife is a teacher at our local state school and I can promise you the 90 hour figure is pretty accurate. She goes to work at 7, comes home at 6, has dinner then spends another couple of hours marking and prepping. If I’m lucky, we spend an afternoon together over the weekend as a family.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. So educating the next generation of doctors, plumbers, accountants, shop workers, lawyers, teachers, dentists, farmers, nurses, scientists, politicians, hairdressers, business people, stockbrokers, butchers,……………. isn’t a “proper job”? Maybe you could tell us what YOU do for a living, Dave? It must be very very important!!

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    2. Vocational subjects unfortunately were used by a SMALL minority of teachers to cheat the system and give better performance levels than the children deserved, in an effort to achieve targets.

      Really??? I am one of those teachers that began to teach a Btec subject -construction. We did this as part of a direct initiative from the government 11-19 curriculum. Remember that? We had no choice but to expand the choice of what subjects we offered our students, and therefore looking at the capabilities of the students we cater for. I studied, took extra courses (in my own time, not school time!) so that I could effectively teach a whole new set of subjects within our department. The course I studied, planned and designed allowed for a lot of EAL and SEN students to achieve a qualification that they could expand further once they left school. Also it enabled more able students to also achieve a good range of practical skills. Most of my students excelled and make excellent progress. For several students it was the ONLY qualification they were able to achieve.
      At no point did I EVER try to cheat the system or give students better levels than were deserved, as per your accusation. I find this comment extremely rude and insulting. I worked damn hard to help my students learn and achieve something that, if nothing else, can be considered a life skill. I have had several students return to thank me for what I taught them over the years. They say that what they learned with me has helped them get a place at college/ apprenticeship and most are now employed in the construction business.
      Not all students are academic and not all thrive at school. To presume that would be like saying all human love to drink milk. They do not and for a variety of reasons.
      I do not usually reply or comment on these types of things but quite frankly Mr King, your flippant comments have angered me beyond any other I have read in quite some time.

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    3. Geoff King… have you ever personally known a teacher?! Try to shadow one for a day or even a week, you will find that they work from morning to night, including weekends. The only time to relax is commuting to and from work, even then thinking about how to get Little Jonny to understand what he needs to learn for him to get to his expected level, or worrying about if he’s going to be safe and fed that night. My partner used to say the good old ’12 weeks holiday’ until he realised that I was still working most of those, and not being able to afford a holiday during ‘school holidays’. He works as a civil servant and worked out that, including flexi time and holidays, he has equivalent to 11 weeks holiday, but doesn’t bring work home or work weekends and is on more salary than me. The problem is that a lot of people are blind to the role of teachers in society and have a lack of respect for teachers due to this.

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      1. I am shocked by your response. How can you even start to guess how many hours blondegeography works???
        I was a maths teacher for 25 years. As the workload got more and more I decided to keep a record of the hours I worked. Many weeks it was 90 hours. One week it was 96 hours. I eventually had to stop recording the hours as it was making me very depressed.

        Most teachers give their time willingly – because the genuinely want to do EVERYTHING they can to help their students reach the very best standard they can. BUT it would be nice if we were thanked for it rather than being constantly criticised for not doing EVEN MORE!

        Eventually I decided to take early retirement just under 3 years ago. I still teach maths, but I do it privately, where I am able to teach each student they way that suits THEM best, rather than the way some OFSTED inspector or Secretary of State for Education thinks is the right way. With 25 years of experience, believe it or not, I do have some idea of what works!!!

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    4. Excuse me. I find your comment insulting. I won’t bother commenting on the rest of your comment as it is within the first paragraph you have made a fatal error.

      I too am an NQT in a secondary school and have been working these hours since September. I spend every evening working. All day Sunday working. I get to school and hour early to get resources ready for the day. I have been known to work 12 hour days in school only to go home and continue marking.

      I am not a work-a-holic but these hours were necessary in order to survive and achieve the demands of the Outstanding Academy within which I work – as well as ensuring I do the right thing by my students and not just jump through hoops in order to, as you say, keep them interested and motivated. I challenge you to try thinking up innovative and creative lessons after 12 hours on the go (let alone deliver them with awe-inspiring gusto each and every time).

      During my holidays, I spend a good few days working and even when I am not, you can bet that somewhere in my mind, thoughts of school are lingering. A friend once did the maths and worked out that teacher holidays actually equate to the extra amount wee work beyond our contracted hours. So, in effect, we actually get far less holiday than most – we are just fortunate enough to have it lumped together so we may recharge our severely depleted batteries before reigniting ready for the rigmarole.

      I do not ask for or hope to inspire sympathy as I love my job and I work with incredible people and hilarious children – I truly believe what I do makes a difference each and every day.

      I am, therefore, incredibly insulted by your comment. This is an extremely personal issue to many and please think before you speak. Teaching is a very personal job as so much care goes into everything you do and you develop close bonds with the students in your class. So please note that what you say can hurt on more than a meer professional level; the sheer volume of personal pronouns used to exemplify the sheer depths your ignorant and misjudged words hit I hope reinforce this message – if you remember what they are of course.

      Regards,

      Miss Teacher.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, BBC says an average of about 55-60 hours pw from regular surveys of teachers which is obviously still fairly high.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27087942
        “Primary classroom teachers worked longer hours – 59.3 hours – than their secondary school counterparts, who worked for 55.7 hours per week.”

        It probably doesn’t help that in the NQT year it would be expected that hours are significantly higher due to 1. Academic requirements e.g. essays and 2. Longer time preparing for each lesson due to lack of lesson plans, inefficiency and the like.

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      2. An average is still just that – an average. I guess it depends on the school, age group taught, responsibilities, number of classes, range of ages taught etc.
        I wouldn’t say i’m inefficient, I have just had to start many things from scratch – I’m teaching courses this year that I haven’t taught before.

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      3. I have absolute sympathy with teacher workloads…I am, after all, a primary teacher. However I would always advise caution with using hours worked as a way to martyr ourselves. Many folks work hard/long/tirelessly in a range of (usually) vocational disciplines. People don’t care. It’s our choice after all! Hmm. I know I know. It’s the government, SLT, our conscience.

        My solution? I simply agree with incoming comments about my having half the year off and stop hanging out with people who talk to me like this! They can’t come to the park with my children and me on July and August weekdays so no loss. I enjoy my holidays. I work smarter. I ask for help. Life gets easier.

        Rise above. Be proud. Care. Don’t mention workload or hours to non-teachers in a martyred voice (unintentionally I know but it’s not heard like that, it’s just not). Honestly. It works wonders and definitely shuts the £ chasers up. Oh, and speak to your head urgently if it’s getting too much. They will help. If they don’t, you’re in the wrong school.

        Bon chance.

        Mr Teacher Man McSmugholiday

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      4. Dear NQT,

        Trust me, it does get gradually better. I’m in my 3rd year, and whilst I used to work a ridiculous number of hours a week in my NQT, I do around the average now (55). Pick your school carefully if you possibly can, this makes a huge difference, a pragmatic boss and a great team make life such a lot better. The best advice I was given on my NQT year is that sometimes you need to put yourself first to give your students the best, it really is true.

        Keep being awesome 🙂

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    5. I am shocked by your response. How can you even start to guess how many hours blondegeography works???
      I was a maths teacher for 25 years. As the workload got more and more I decided to keep a record of the hours I worked. Many weeks it was 90 hours. One week it was 96 hours. I eventually had to stop recording the hours as it was making me very depressed.

      Most teachers give their time willingly – because the genuinely want to do EVERYTHING they can to help their students reach the very best standard they can. BUT it would be nice if we were thanked for it rather than being constantly criticised for not doing EVEN MORE!

      Eventually I decided to take early retirement just under 3 years ago. I still teach maths, but I do it privately, where I am able to teach each student they way that suits THEM best, rather than the way some OFSTED inspector or Secretary of State for Education thinks is the right way. With 25 years of experience, believe it or not, I do have some idea of what works!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    6. I am a teacher who left the profession after ten years. I loved my job but my health could no longer cope with working from 7am to 6.30pm at school and every evening Monday to Thursday until mid-night or 1am in the morning. Friday night I would collapse and get to bed about 8pm. At the weekend I was up at 5am both Saturday and Sundays again working through until 12mid-night marking, assessing and preparing lesson plans, lesson resources and writing English lesson plans for my class and parallel year 2 class three weeks ahead of teaching them as we both continually assessed the understanding and the level children were learning and what support was necessary for each of the 60 children across both classes. (My colleague was planning the maths lessons for both classes). My husband would insist I would take off 2 hours Sunday afternoon to spend with him before I continued. I also spent time making classroom resources and used my own money to buy resources for my classroom. I was fortunate during the school day if I had 10 minutes lunch break as I heard three of my class children read independently for ten minutes every lunch time, so I could assess the reading of each of the thirty children in my class over the fortnight. Over the summer holidays I would take two weeks holiday. The rest of the time I was preparing schemes of work for my new teaching year and new class. In my last summer working, along with a colleague we had to rewrite schemes of work for science, history, music, physical education (gymnastics, dance and games), art, design and technology, phonics, information technology, geography and religious education and check what resources the school had to teach these subjects and order new resources and decide what resources would need to be made or bought by us to teach those lessons. I then had to look at my action plan for moving the whole school on in my three co-ordinator roles and assess where we were at as a school, how we could improve and how these improvements could be implemented. Other than those two weeks holiday and a few days at Christmas, I worked every half-term holiday, Easter break and bank holidays. When the children are on holiday, teachers are not, they are preparing lessons, assessing and updating tired resources. They are meeting with colleagues to discuss how to improve as a school, new legislation and implementation of such. How the teaching of each subject area can be improved across the school. Going through children’s work across the school in each of our co-ordinator roles to ensure children’s learning is progressing across the school, so there are no gaps in learning in any of the year groups. How children are achieving and how to support those children that are not achieving and sharing ideas with colleagues and using that information to adjust our action plans for the next term.

      From my own experience, I would say that the hours are not overstated. Unfortunately, non-teachers still seem to believe that teachers only work the hours that children are at school, they believe that teachers have evenings and weekends off like the majority of employees and on top of that they have the same holidays as the children. The media add to this illusion and most teachers are too tired and busy to fight back as their priority is the children they are teaching and the desire to make a positive difference in their education, unfortunately to the detriment of their own work life balance. It would be great if this was a choice, but if teachers did not work these hours, the children would not receive the education they deserve. Teachers do get great satisfaction from teaching the children, but there is far more involved to achieve this than non-teachers understand. All the testing that has been brought into schools means teachers are having to teach to the test rather than teaching the child from where they are at and moving them forward and congratulating their achievements. The excessive tests are setting children up for constant failure. Teachers are constantly assessing children, it is necessary part of their job to know what to teach them next depending on what they have understood so far. These tests are stopping teachers doing the job they trained four years to do. Honestly, do you believe tests from the age of four are productive to children’s learning. Assessment yes, constant testing no.

      As regards to Richard Branson needing expertise to know how to fly or drive a train, you miss the point. The point would be that he would believe he could tell the pilot how to fly the plane or the train driver how to drive his train. Teachers are being told how to teach by people who have never taught a class of children or had any relevant training. They don’t know how those children learn and progress or what motivates and inspires that learning. Tests and the constant sense of failure do not inspire children, good teachers do.

      Would any other profession tolerate someone telling them how to do their job if they didn’t have relevant experience? Teachers are educating children, they are individuals not robots. They all learn at different levels, no child learns at the same rate and their learning is affected by their environment. They need nurturing as well as teaching. They need to learn about their relationships with other children and adults. To learn, they need to feel safe, valued and successful. They need to be treated like the children they are. They have feelings and emotions.

      I wish people who believe that they are education experts because they went to school would stop and think. You were a child when you were at school. You had no understanding of what the teacher had done to provide that lesson for you and the other children in the class and what they did after that lesson to inform your learning for the next lesson. Which children needed extra input to aid their understanding and those that had understood and were ready to move forward in their learning. Teachers are not just teaching a lesson, they are teaching all thirty children that lesson, all of whom are at different levels in their understanding. They are constantly assessing. They know where the child is in each subject area and what their next steps need to be. Because teachers do this so well, it goes unnoticed by the pupil.

      I was told by one head teacher regarding the year 2 SAT tests, to ignore the most able children because they would pass the test, ignore those children that we’re not ready for the test and only concentrate on the middle ability group of children that would pass the test with more input for the three months before the test. How is that a fair education to all children. The most able become disinterested, those children in the class who are not achieving at the level required for the test (usually the younger children in the class as they are not as developed as their older classmates just because they are younger) are not moved forward. I refused and taught every child in the class, but this meant working long hours to achieve this. I had most of the lower ability children who I was told to write off, pass this test. Only those who were not yet ready failed the test. How has that affected them and their future learning?
      Not every child should be pushed toward the academic achievement, children should be given an opportunity to find out what their skills are and encouraged in that direction so they can have successful future careers. Vocational options are perfect for some children.

      How the government believe that teachers can work at this level until they are 67 years old is laughable. Most new teachers leave within five years as they realise to continue means they have no life, friends or relationships. The committed teachers burn out and eventually leave the profession.

      Education is broken and non-experts are failing miserably to fix it. Would it not be sensible to listen to the professionals that actually do the job.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s too true what you say.. Teachers are and I’m afraid always will be undervalued in society but yet they have such an important role.. And it’s not just glorified childcare!! I’m an ex teacher (taught PE for nearly 20yrs) and left through medical reasons but I enjoyed my job for let’s say 15 of those years.. Near the end I was overworked, under paid, under appreciated and yes I planned/researched late into every eve and weekend., for the pitiful salary I received. At times I feel for teachers having to constantly jump through unrealistic hoops for targets/gcses etc but it’s the same as it was now as when I qualified. Something drastic needs to change. Kids are not robots and the uk is low in league tables across the world so government WAKE UP!!!

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    7. It seems hard to believe just how many hours teachers need to put in. Especially when most us can tell our boss we feel diddled for just half hour a day extra. We fight for our 5.6 weeks holiday and then spend it worrying about work. What teachers do is mind boggling. Its also an example of what every employer wants: we are all asked to do more and more work in less and less hours.

      Teachers are by their nature motivated to bring out the best in their pupils. Targets set from high above are often an interference. Children have individual bests and there is no encouragement to challenge the academic ones or the more practical minded. I’ve also had teachers who could look at a bullied child and see a problem, the ones I remember well saw the other children, the two I still rather hate saw the victim as the problem.

      Vocational subjects will make a non-academic child preform much better than dry history lessons. This is down to teaching the usually adolescent mind things that actually interest it in ways that engage and inform. Unfortunately many people still believe that qualifications based on written work have any use in practical fields when the evidence is very much against this theory.

      Sir Richard Branson has a pilots licence and by all reports the first thing he wanted to do when he brought a train set was learn to drive one. If it wasn’t for teachers who respected the differences he faced as a dyslexic child I doubt he’d have been anything special. Experts and interested parties are quite often not teachers and if the consultation is anything like in other fields then it occurs after the decisions have been made.

      Our education system very badly needs to be left in the hands of the teachers. Let them suggest the measures on league tables. Let parents ask questions. Consider that I would choose to educate my children at home if it wasn’t for finding a polite bunch on a school bus. I believe that children deserve to be brought up in a pleasant environment by people who have the energy to care about them. We don’t even try to measure how nice children are but I bet teachers care.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You go into teaching with a passion. Exhausted and frustrated at having to enter the same data into endless forms and grids, you desperately try to join the ranks of SSLT to avoid teaching (who could possibly be perfect at creating new SOWS/reflecting/writing up syllabus documents and reviews/behaviour management and following up kids who just refuse to work with parents who are too busy working to feed the mouths of their 5 children with minimum wages to help/marking all books weekly/teaching engaging lessons and planning which now must include: differentiation-creativity-showing student progress-AFL-numeracy-literacy-SMSC-pupil premium and whatever next initiative some non-teacher decides to conjure up to justify his paycheque in the government.)

    When you finally get out of full deployment teaching, TRL UPS hey-ho! You then end up dishing endless spreadsheets out to teachers with full deployment to justify your UPS, further perpetuating the cycle. You desperately introduce all the new initiatives churned by said non-teacher each INSET effectively destroying all morale.

    If all students were capable of attaining Cs in all their GCSEs then why do the grade boundaries shift? You get that bottom set child who used to throw chairs in the classroom at the beginning of the year, who was permanently excluded in his primary school for punching a teacher, having grown up in a family rife with domestic violence, sent to a PRU in KS3, has had 2 managed moves, who would refuse to enter your classroom, survived the traumatic death of a family member and sometimes didn’t get dinner at home to a C at 58% by the end of two years of blood, sweat and tears. This kid has worked his tail off and so have you. You now find out that both of you are failures. Forget your future, kid. Forget your raise, teacher, the C grade boundary’s been moved to 63% – Sorry, we’re going to have to assign you a mentor, you’re clearly unsatisfactory. Time to write up and present your lesson plans two weeks ahead.

    Even if all schools produced 100% A*-C results – where would these students go? You need to look at FE opportunities – could sixth form colleges and universities accommodate 700 000 children? * How would a low-income household be able to afford the fees?
    The system has ensured that not all children can attain 100% A*-C GCSE grades. So why enforce this unrealistic pressure on schools? I understand, you want to make sure teachers don’t just read out of text books and go home at 3PM. That’s what lesson observations and Ofsted are for.

    The quality of teachers is decreasing. They wanted first class graduates, they’ll have to suffice with third class honours and lower. When even those candidates dry up (what’s the point in accumulating sky-high student loans for a mediocre-paying job) then all we’ll have left are the poor souls who have exhausted all other possibilities due to the competitive job market or they’ll invent some extended SCITT/GTP recruitment idea that takes in prospective teachers as young as 18 years old promising them 5 years of training at a school. Desperate for a paycheck teachers who have barely lived will be expected to expand the minds of our youth.

    Or we’ll just have data-driven drones.

    Forget the pre-conceived notion you had of stiff teachers sitting behind a desk, reciting out of textbooks leaving at 3PM. That just doesn’t exist anymore. Your child sits in a classroom of 33 other children with an adult trying to pour love, inspiration and knowledge into their minds. Your child’s teacher has 4 years of university education under their belt. I understand, all employees are feeling the squeeze due to recession and competition. But your child spends 7 hours of his day with teachers. Don’t you want those 7 hours to be meaningful with positive influences?

    ‘Stop moaning and quit if you don’t like it.’ Ok, will do. Say hello to the drones who will replace all your children’s favourite teachers.

    * Note: in 2014, 700 000 students took their GCSEs. Source: The Telegraph.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Interesting read, and whilst I agree there are always are areas of concern for education, regardless of the current government I am more frustrated by the usual complaint that as teachers we have an insurmountable pile of work to complete.

    I am currently working as a 6th form co ordinated in an outstanding SEN school and have previously worked in 2 mainstream secondry schools, one outstanding , one in special measures across ks3/4/5. I have completed and outstanding teacher programme and also fulfil multiple other roles and responsibilities within my job.

    Yes we do have lots of work, yes we do go beyond the call of duty but I have to say if you are working 90 hour weeks you need to re evaluate your time management strategies and reflective practice as something is going wrong somewhere. No the government is not perfect by a long shot but I find it so frustrating to here another teacher moaning about their work load. Maybe it is not all the governments fault. We can all make a difference to our society but for those who can, like us teachers who have been blessed with education, let’s take some responsibility for make things better, how we want them to be, as well as expecting the government to support us.

    The world doe not give sympathy to teacher who are always moaning about workload. Lots of people work hard and over hours.

    The greatest piece of advice I received I my ITP was that there is a finite time to get everything done. Make sure you make it a sensible finite time. Not 90+ per week.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Workload wise doesn’t surprise me it looks like the workloads increases every tear my dad is a teacher during his first 2years setting up his lesson plans and practicing (hes a Technology teacher so practiced all the cooking to make sure of confidence and to be able to encourage students in creative variations) he managed to have a couple of weeks off in the summer and the odd weekend day without work. Now a fair few years on when he should have lesson plans just needing editing no need to practice and a practice of marking to speed up the process, with no time given during school time anymore to help this extra work(no free blocks as used to be the condition) he has extra lessons including afterschool clubs and detention duty, compulsory teaching over the summer with some summer school now at his school. No extra pay and iv yet to pop round after school and find him doing anything but work (I call at 9/10in the evening) and all weekend he sometimes manages to take a day off to look after his grandson every other week and works all evening to make up the time.
        90hours a week only 12ish hours a day that seems low that’s only 8-8!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You contradict yourself. Teachers “moaning” about workload, then saying we need to take responsibility. It is those staff who put in the time who are indeed taking responsibility. Granted 90 hours is too much, but clearly due to the pressures exerted by external factors some staff deem this necessary.
      As for government not being responsible…give yourself a damn good shake…..league tables, academisation, free schools, demanding that all students make linear progress even though EVERYONE knows this is not how it works, constant changing the goalposts with Ofsted to name but a few…we could of course strike or take action short of strike action….but this makes our jobs impossible, results would suffer and Ofsted will be on our backs. Its a no win.
      Finally, what’s wrong with standing up and shouting about a system that is being destroyed, a profession that is leaking a huge % of new teachers every year? It’s fine though as long as we keep the good teachers until they retire….at 67!!! It shouldn’t be a race to the bottom, clearly this doesn’t bother you.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I find it quite worrying to see more than 10 errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar in a post written by a teacher. Although some are clearly typos, others aren’t – “frustrating to here”, “the governments fault”, for example.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! Get off your soap box before you hurt yourself!!! We all care about the children, that is what this post is about. I have only recently passed my degree and teaching qualification because I was labelled at school as not academic! So I wasn’t allowed to take certain subjects. Those of us who have suffered in the system and fought to make a difference sometimes get over enthusiastic when writing on the subject. I wish the punctuation was my biggest concern on this topic.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I think you’re missing the fact that it depends what subject you teach: a year 6 primary teacher has shedloads of marking every day in addition to having to prepare 21/22 hours of lessons a week, organise and prepare the learning environment and attend at least 6 hours of meetings a week. Most primary teachers I know are in work by 730am and don’t leave before 6pm, sometimes later. They also spend 1 full day every weekend marking and half their holidays in school preparing the classroom for new topics. In addition to this they either work 10pm-1am every night marking, or get up at 330am to do the same.

      Secondary school teachers I know teaching languages have a similar caseload.

      By comparison I consider myself fortunate: I work half time in a sixth form college teaching art and on top of my contracted 18.5 hours a week I ONLY do an extra 6 hours every week, occasionally with 3 extra for marking or other responsibilities.

      The point is that Gove encouraged and spread a myth about teachers, which was all too easy for Joe Public to believe, because they don’t know what happens outside of contact time. He and his like-minded peers should be ashamed of themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Hi, Springwoodinspiration.
      I was a teacher at a secondary school for children with MLD for 13 years, two of which were as head of department. I finally quit, not because I wasn’t successful, I was. Not because I didn’t get the best out of my students, I did. I still live on the patch and I see many of my ex-students. I am gratified to see that so many of them have smashed through their individual glass ceilings and gone on to achieve things beyond their imaginings, and I’m proud that I had some small part in that.
      I quit because I was worn out. I quit because my health was suffering. I quit because I had no quality of life with my family.
      However, I think I can see why you don’t find the workload too arduous. If you put the amount of effort into preparing work and checking your students’ work as you did into composing and checking your own contribution to this, there is little wonder that you find it a breeze.

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      1. I find that comment unnecessarily unpleasant. The points made remain valid – its very easy, when typing a long comment, possibly on a mobile phone, to make mistakes (and on a mobile phone auto-correct often changes what it intended to something you did not intend but also did not notice.

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      2. Ignore my comment below – I am VERY sorry, I thought it was a comment on the original post by blondegeography, and I can’t find any way of deleting it!! Once again, my apologies.

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  8. I went to a Secondary Mod school and I loved it. No French just very practical teaching. Metalwork, woodwork, gardening, cooking and in science we did experiments and then recorded what we did with diagrams. PE was for the good of your health and in the sowing room was a small bedroom to teach about living. They say we need more Grammer schools, but we don’t because all Comprehensive shools are Grammer schools. You won’t find any evidence of a Secondary Mod education in today’s schools. Mrs Thatcher said she was going to improve Education by making it a all graduate profession and closed teacher training collages. What she didn’t know was these peoples skills were based around writing and academic ability. So these teachers turned Eduacation into what they knew. Grammer Shools. When I was in school there was a Head, two Deputies and a school secretary. If you missed behaved you were sent to the Head. Today there is a whole army of managers monitoring teachers. Collecting badges to hang on the front of the school and if possible avoiding pupils at all costs. Classroom management is the job of the teacher. When I was in school the Head or any elder teaching entering the classroom would result in the whole to stand up and then very quietly get on with their work. Today you have a class observation with a manager, the kids miss behave and then blame you for poor class management. What makes me an expert? Well as a failed Secondary Mod kid I became a Metalwork, Woodwork teacher and stayed in the classroom for 38 years. I had graduated to become a Technology teacher and an expert English teacher. Specifications and Evauations my specialty.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As someone hitting 60 and deciding to leave the profession because I greatly fear for the future of education, and because I’m exhausted, I applaud your every word. Good luck for the future.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Don’t dis languages for all. I worked until very recently in a language college (state school) where two languages were compulsory for all until 16, and we were ajudged to be one of the most successful language colleges in the UK. With decent teachers and a range of suitable qualifications languages are accessible to all. Don’t get me wrong – no one was more gutted than I was as Friday morning dawned. Don’t discourage the learning of a foreign language1

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    1. For some it is fantastic, I wish I was good at languages I marvel at people who are. However as an example my son went to a school where a foreign language was compulsory. As he was dyslexic I asked if he could learn Spanish. (Research I had made showed Spanish was easier for Dyslexics to learn) I was told they didn’t do Spanish but he could do French, German or Latin. I asked if he could then have extra English lessons to improve his chances of obtaining a grade C GCSE English. I was told “No”. He failed one of his GCSE’s and I’m sure you can guess it was his French. I am just pleased that through determination on his part it didn’t affect him getting his English grade C.

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    2. I completely agree with you. In many countries across the world people have to learn English as a second language just to get a job! We are so lazy in the UK. I wish I was pushed more with languages as a child as it’s much more difficult now as an adult.

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    1. The middle word is ‘noselled’ meaning ‘nursed’ and it’s been adapted from a William Tyndale quote
      “he expressed his dissatisfaction with the teaching of theology at the universities: “In the universities they have ordained that no man shall look on the Scripture until he be nozzled in heathen learning eight or nine years, and armed with false principles with which he is clean shut out of the understanding of the Scripture.”
      – according to Google.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Teachers really are on another planet. Think they have such a hard life, its no more or less difficult than anyone else’, so shut up and get on with your job. Muppets

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      1. when i left school 51 years ago, the teaching i received was mixed, some teachers were excellent in every aspect of their chosen subject, but some spent the day looking for the next backside to punish and looking at the huge clock above the blackboard waiting for 3.30 bell to ring. I was only secondary modern but my education was good and enabled me to become trained as a compositor. I could not say whether you are under or over paid, but putting your earnings into perspective, i dont think you are struggling, 2 wages into your household, i live on a pension of £620 a month. Its a struggle for a lot of people, when you can’t put a loaf of bread on the table. Lets sit back and watch for a while, to see if this government gives us all the opportunities we crave. Lets not forget its the labour party that have got us into this mess and joe public have given the conservatives the chance to put it right. My o my i wish i was as rich as blair,

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    1. I don’t think anyone was saying a teacher’s job is harder than others. The only difference is for the hours worked; ordinary teachers are effectively on minimum wage when you count the hours worked in school and at home. That is demoralising. I struggle to keep up to be honest and I put my all into providing stimulating learning for the children in my class every day. I do my job because I love it. I just wish I was rewarded sometimes or even recognised!!!

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    2. Ever taught? Could it be perhaps that you are talking out of your arse? And did you read the parts where the author worried about the effects of mismanagement and under-funding on the kids in schools? You know, if a doctor tells you the NHS is in grave danger, and a teacher tells you education policy is causing great damage… maybe you should listen to them. Just possibly they know more about that stuff than you do.

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  12. Your letter makes some excellent points and clearly echoes a lot of people’s feelings. However, I can’t help feeling that if Cameron writes back it won’t be to concede the points and implement changes!
    We need action and could get involved with our unions and the People’s Assembly, we don’t have access to the latter in Leamington where I live but several of us have got together and we’re starting one.

    They have organised a national demonstration : ‘End Austerity Now’ on Saturday 20th June in London
    http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org,uk

    Gilly

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You know, it’s shocking to see the grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes in some of the posts written by teachers. I’m a teacher and I am appalled at the poor standards of some of the posts on here, considering that they are penned by professionals with a degree or degrees.

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    1. In some posts, yes, the SPaG isn’t fantastic. When I’m tired I make no guarantees about mine – and well everyone has seen that I’ve made more than one mistake. I’m quite sure that there are very few people who proof-read every comment that they make. Like I said previously, instead of bashing lets be supportive.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Having taught from 1973 – 2013, I watched a job I loved and where I felt I made a difference become dismantled by people who are totally ignorant about education, i would not recommend teaching to anyone.
    I have had many jobs, including heavy labouring and all-weather agriculture, teaching is the absolute hardest, but at one time the most rewarding.
    it would be a good idea if those who denigrate Blondegeography were to try it.

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  15. At last, someone with the guts speak out about what many already know but chose to bury their heads in the sand about.
    Worried about the financial situation in schools…….It hasn’t hardly begun yet, as the plan appears to be that the Government will opt for all schools to become ‘academies’…….Easy cop out if ever I heard of one.
    Worried about the NHS…..oh boy, you need to be because that has already started. Certain areas are privatised already and many hospitals have closed wards and reconfigured them into something else, as if the ward/s never existed, however by doing so, they have lost an average of 80 beds per hospital.
    I nearly choked on my own breath recently when a Senior teacher informed me that there was really no need for children in England to learn a second language as every other Country has to learn English. How up themselves and conceited is that attitude!!?
    As a Business owner, I know of many businesses that are not the least bit interested in employing anyone who makes a Grade C in GCSE. The employers are looking at B’s, A’s A* and above to help their business to grow. The world is their oyster out there when it comes to finding staff.
    I feel incredibly sorry and sad for the teachers of today who are fighting a losing battle with not only the last Government but will be fighting a losing battle with the now present one. However, I feel even more sorry for the children of today…………What a bleak future lies ahead for them.

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  16. Great read up until the standard teacher argument of pay – I’ve recently finished and started as a charity events manager – about the same wage, a lot less holiday and tough (just been up on a Sunday pre 5am after not getting back until gone 11pm). There are definitely things that need to be fixed with education – why I left – but saturating key points down with a statement that 90% (if not more) of the population feels doesn’t help.
    PS think discipline should have made it in there – how many kids now days are actually bothered by detention?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In his previous Senior School my son and the whole of the class were put on detention, and although he went as well as about 6 or so others no-one else did including the teacher.
      The teacher took no action at all and the matter passed without anything being said.
      What does that tell the children?

      He is now in another school, and many of the class were put on detention for not doing a project for homework. The detention was held 24 hours later. We received notification through the post and by mobile. All the children attended and are now wiser for it. Respect to that teacher.

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  17. I am an NQT primary teacher. You are right that we do work crazy hours and it is hard to be positive from day to day.
    It is a shame that you started this article with details of your ‘council house’ back ground and 2:2.
    I don’t think this is relevant to the argument that you’re making, and doesn’t give your points any more validity. Stop letting it bother you- you have the qualification, you’ve earned it and you’re clearly doing a great job by the amount of hours and effort you’re putting in.

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  18. I’m 57 in September and have been teaching for 34 years, 18 as HT of challenging inner city schools. I’ve taken 3 schools from ‘special measures’ to “outstanding’ and I continue to work with some highly motivated, dedicated and creative teachers. However, I’ve had enough. It’s not the pressure, the workload, the kids or parents but the constant change brought about by politicians trying to make a name for themselves. I’ve lost count of the number of Education Secretaries I’ve served under over the years. I really worry for our future and I worry so much about our young teachers, their workload, the burnout. I’m not being big headed but the system can’t afford to lose heads like me but I’m planning to go for no other reason than I’ve had enough. I’ve done the challenge, I’ve contributed so much and still our children’s education remains a political toy. I’ll take my pension early, regain some ‘youth’ and look back knowing I did make a difference, despite the political interference!!

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  19. Well said, the state of the education system in most “developed” countries (note most, not all) is heartbreaking. The mounting pressure on both teachers and students is deplorable and dehumanising.

    I moved from Scotland to Australia just under 4 years ago and last year decided to pull my now 10 year old daughter out of mainstream education and began homeschooling. I didn’t do this because of the teachers (although there are a frightening number of teachers I’ve encountered who shouldn’t be allowed near kids, my daughter was lucky enough to have only decent to outstanding examples during her time at school)

    I chose to homeschool because my once bubbly, bright and enthusiastic child had become withdrawn and depressed. Depressed at 9 years old!!! Standardised testing had left her feeling stupid and unable to cope with life after she was labelled “below average”. One year on, with a lot of help and support from the massive homeschool community here, she’s back to her bright, bubbly self and is working at a grade level above her former schoolmates.

    My point being, teachers are given such unreasonable targets, terrible working conditions and ridiculously overcrowded classrooms, many children don’t stand a chance. Even with classroom assistants, one to one time is not always possible and kids get left behind.

    The education system needs a massive shake up, not every parent has the luxury of being able to homeschool and many kids suffer in the current school system, which can lead to lifelong issues.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Hello! I’m a teenager and I totally agree with what you’re saying. I have three, yes three, subjects I was allowed to choose for GCSEs because so many subjects were made compulsory! I live in Wales and they made Welsh compulsory which I find to be extremely annoying as I don’t like the language and I’m taking French so now I’m having to learn two languages, one of which I think is pointless. They made all three sciences compulsory, which I know many people will struggle with that, they made R.E compulsory, Welsh Bachelorette, English and Maths. As we have more than one qualification for English Maths and Welsh Bach, I think we are expected to get about 14 GCSEs! I wish they had given us more choice to choose the subjects we enjoy; it’s not fair.

    In the Summer holidays, I will be hosting a teen collaboration called #TeensTellTheirStory in which teens, bloggers or not, will be free to express their feelings and I guarantee that school will be discussed a lot! I’ve not long announced it so I haven’t explained fully what it entails, but if anyone’s interested, just check out my blog! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t think of Welsh as useless, its hard but its the only way to get good job a beautiful area. I wasn’t given the chance to learn and I can’t get a decent job in wales. In my school they made us take French and I didn’t want to. Fact is they taught it in French so I might as well not have showed up. When you find that your really good at a subject try giving a little help to those who are really good at something you need a little help in. It makes the best difference.
      I wish I’d been able to take triple science so I’m just jealous of that. We were told it wasn’t available in wales and had to take double award. This by the same people who told us we could only sit lower tier math. Its not fun being lied to but I did appreciate that our math teacher couldn’t handle complex equations.
      RE unless its been changed is Christian education and frankly the most annoying subject ever. I remember desperately wanting to do comparative religion and being bitterly disappointed at the actual course content.
      But all schools now have to teach misnamed subjects PE should be called ‘team sports with expensive equipment’ as actually teaching body structure, nutrition and independent exercise is considered beyond a child’s comprehension.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I completely agree in regards to vocational subjects.
    I have 9 GSCE’s,one AS level, a BTEC and a degree. My BTEC was in performing arts and I can tell you my teachers were the best I ever had. In fact 7 years on I am still in touch with one.
    Vocational subjects like Drama allow children to gain critical life skills such as team building. Let’s not forget the heaps of confidence children build by performing and succeeding. My 6th form head of year convinced 7 pupils going into A-level to dismiss performing arts as a “real subject” but then took credit when my class all achieved a double distinction.
    But this isn’t my only problem with education. My younger sister was homeschooled as are 1000’s of children in the UK. There is no educational system for home schooling. My mum is disabled and my sister stopped education to become her primary carer but she never found school easy, she struggled with the system and the regimentation of education. Why was she a failure when she felt like she had done her best?
    So many children are home schooled in this country and they are forgotten about and families charged hundreds of pounds for their children to sit exams. My sister has no qualifications because we could not afford it. My mum had to go to American home schooling sites to find any sort of helpful curriculum material.
    It’s not just children in schools being let down by the system.

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  22. I am not a teacher but I am married to one and 3 of our 4 daughters also teach, so I have some insight into teaching and teachers. Teaching is the only major profession I know that does not have its own Professional Institution.

    You should consider setting up the Royal Institute of British and Irish Teaching or some-such and the Institute MUST, as a matter of urgency, represent the interests of teachers and teaching at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

    The Institute should take over full responsibility for training teachers, setting teaching standards, setting curricula and measuring performance of both teachers and pupils.

    The Institute should determine the pay and conditions of teachers and should negotiate this with central government.

    The Institute should seek to reduce to a minimum the involvement of politicians and civil servants in the education process.

    The Institute should scrap OFSTED.

    The Institute should should set up an enabling body for the procurement, design, construction, operation and maintenance of educational buildings including schools.

    I could go on, but I hope you get the general idea. Until teachers and teaching take themselves seriously and demand the same rights and benefits as other major professions, you will always be regarded as second class professionals and you will always BE so. If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.

    A well wisher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That last sentence is so true.

      Indeed, such a body would be good. We did have something for a while but they scrapped it. It was set up by government though. Not by teachers.

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  23. Ken Robinson’s TED talk from 2009 sums up all that is wrong with Education. Kids are all regarded as widgets that have to be churned out of a factory system – a system that became obsolete over 50 years ago. The reason teachers often work such ridiculous hours is because of doing so many mindless admin tasks that are no use to man, beast or 99% of children. They need to be freed to do what they were trained and want to do – enable children to learn. The whole system needs to be scrapped. Look at what the Finns do. That is what effective education is about.

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  24. Hi everyone. .as a teacher I would just like to make a comment about holidays as many seem to think we have 13 weeks paid holiday each year! This is not true! We are contracted to work 39 weeks of the year and we are paid the standard 4 weeks holiday as in most employment sectors..9 weeks of the year are holiday which is not paid! Yes we may get paid in august but this is only because our salary is averaged over 12 months! I call it 9 weeks enforced unpaid holiday! Please stop letting people tell you you have 13 weeks paid holiday!!

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  25. As the partner of a primary teacher I have to agree with virtually everything you have written above.
    I work in sales within a high pressure environment. My partner works in an inner city school with a high proportion of migrant children who have English as a second language.
    Our two occupations should seem a world apart, but in essence they are almost the same. Within my workplace I will be set targets that are often unrealistic and based on whatever the upper echelons of my company deem ‘achieveable’. I also am juggling needing to achieve various KPIs or ludicrous new corporate scheme that some third party (with no knowledge of the business) has sold to the company, with the aim of achieving or improving *whatever*.
    If I don’t hit my targets for three consecutive months I will be sacked, regardless of whether or not there is the footfall to achieve this feat. Every customer needs to be dealt with in a formulated way yet we are told to establish rapport with every customer and also file paperwork correctly, clean our store, work a bit of overtime
    …and I think that I have it rough. It’s nothing next to you guys. My partner experiences the same and more daily.

    Hats off to you teachers, my job often brings me to breaking point, but you guys… Wow!

    It’s not unknown for my partner to get up at 5:00AM, work, go to work, come back and work and finally go to bed at 11:30PM to repeat this cycle until the weekend where we may possibly get to spend some time together providing I’m not working and neither is she.

    I see a person who is crushed daily by the pressures and demands of her work, yet somehow manages to find the time to smile despite the many resemblences I made above about my line of work. I utterly deplore the education system… there I said it.
    It’s nothing to do with teachers or anyone else holding this mess together. It’s the stubbornly archaic existence of a bureaucratic cesspit of empty promises, rhetoric and meddling from people who have as much knowledge of frontline education as I have of brain surgery. I know there’s a brain there, the rest…. not a clue.
    To continue the analogy; would you for a moment consider a window fitter to perform brain surgery on you? Of course you wouldn’t, which is why Mr Gove and anyone else without frontline education experience being appointed to the position of Education Minister shows how deeply out of touch the Government are in their approach.

    I agree 100% that each child learns at their own pace. Standardising education so tightly is not the quick fix as it will leave gaps in the child’s knowledge leaving them unable to not only comprehend the subject matter correctly, but also too afraid of failing or even addressing the fear of the subject again, even in later life.
    I am guilty of falling into this particularly with maths (or whatever it will be rebranded as), it always seem to move on faster than I could grasp it because I never understood the concept. To conceptualise something which is not within your realm of thinking requires time and patience. Not to resit an exam that you never understood the subject of.
    I also think that this is one of the primary reasons why the Education system is such a mess. Education is always high on the agenda of any party’s election run and it is so important for us as parents as we always want our children to do better than we did and have more than we did at their age. You are legally not an adult until you are 18 years of age, partly because that is the age that you are deemed ‘responsible’ -which means that you have developed both physically and cognitively to adulthood and have grasped most of the concepts which are presented to you at that age. Which is why you don’t see 5 year olds attempting to find Higgs boson in the LHC or 10 year olds working as airline pilots. Why would you for a second consider it to be ok for a child to grasp a foreign concept as quickly as his classmate sitting next to him? You most probably wouldn’t, yet on paper it says that he should be.
    But you as teachers can conceptualise how how you’d like it to be, how you’d like your class to run if you had total free reign knowing that you could do whatever you thought would be beneficial for each child because you understand them, where they’re at, what’s happening at home etc. However the problem is that up at the top levels of education there are targets to meet with each curriculum and because in the run up to the election they said they ‘change things’ they then start to meddle and tinker with what looks good on paper because they cannot for one second conceptualise these children as individuals all with their own troubles emotionally, cognitively and developmentally. Oh if only were as simple as they make it seem on paper and if only they saw how hard you try to help each child, but they are two different worlds and for this reason only someone who has actually walked in your shoes should walk into the job as Education Minister.

    It’s interesting to note that Sir Ken Robinson also addresses education in one of his TED talks, and I am very much in favour of the Khan Academy featured in another TED talk, they’re worth watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! What a comment! You are so in tune with the problems! And a very articulate comment too – no chance of being criticized by some on here!

      I think you should send a version of this to Mr. Cameron.

      I too like the Khan Academy. But I haven’t seen the article on Ted by Sir Ken Robinson – thanks for the suggestion, I shall go and look at it now.

      Like

  26. This is the first time I have read the whole of a set of replies before – it feels like more than 288!! and took me ages! This is also the first time for leaving a reply! Very thought provoking and interesting.
    Trained as a teacher in the 70s I left teaching in the 90s to work as a self-employed piano teacher, which I still do. I can recommend working one-to-one, with my own systems of admin not anyone else’s hoops to jump through. I still work in 3 schools so see something of what’s happening to education and teachers.
    My children are now both serving practical apprenticeships, having been through a school education that did not fully meet their needs. Did anyone see the TV programme years ago that took a bunch of ‘failing’ teenagers through a 1950s secondary school curriculum? The reaction of a boy who won a certificate for good bricklaying has remained with me ever since. He was so clearly made up and affirmed by it, saying he had never received a certificate before. He was smiling from ear to ear!
    My husband runs his own business – we are both self-employed – so I know all about working long hours in and out of education and the challenges of a work-life balance, but Blondegeographer I applaud you. You make great points, with common sense and sensitivity, not to mention facts based on your experience. Well done!
    Now, can somebody please make sure David Cameron gets to read this? And please (yes, I just started a sentence with ‘And’!!) can the government start to put in Ministers for Education who have been there and done that?

    Liked by 1 person

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