As much as I complain about the current state of education and of course my current situation within my school, I will now be spending at least another 2 terms in a school.
My move is essentially sideways but I will be taking home more money – more on that in a later post.
The only real difference in the school I’m moving to that I can see is that it is single sex rather than coeducational. It has a similar intake, a wide range of abilities and once again surrounded by grammar schools skimming the top students off the top.
I did my best to leave teaching. Anyone who has read my previous posts might be under the impression that I hate my job. They wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in thinking this. Actually a really enjoy teaching. I love being in a class full of enthusiastic students who want to learn. They genuinely can be extremely insightful and funny at times. However, I feel so stifled by the bullshit that goes with the teaching that I end up hating my job. That combined with the work load, the poor behaviour and lack of accountability of the students leads to an unhappy professional.
Debate has raged recently over the poor light teaching is shown in by the media according to both Nicky Morgan and Sir Michael Wilshaw. Michael Wilshaw in particular took exception to the BBC3 documentary Tough Young Teachers. The response from one of the “stars” of the show was excellent in my opinion. The show gave a real look inside some of London’s toughest schools. It showed what it’s really like for some teachers on a daily basis.
As Oliver Beach points out, what the show did was to highlight some of the struggles of being a teacher. It can be really difficult. That needs to be shown to people considering getting into the profession. Why bother recruiting people and putting money into their training when they are only going to walk away after one or two years?
The real worry is teacher retention. There is a plethora of articles which highlight this issue. Even in this article which questions the reliability of the figures used by the ATL union, the official DfE figures show a year on year rise in the number of trainees gaining QTS but then not completing their NQT year.
I was due to become another statistic of teachers dropping out of the profession within their first 2 years. A major factor for this was because I don’t think my initial teacher training made me fully aware of one major issue:
TEACHING IS NOT EASY. NOT AT ALL. (Except maybe sports day)
Can we please acknowledge this for at least one minute. Some days are horrible. Some days make you want to cry. Some days make you want to hide in the corner of your classroom with the light off and to never have to teach another lesson.
Potential teachers need to be made aware of the realities of the work. It isn’t going to be all fun and smiles every day. You WILL come across a really horrible child (at least one) who simply does not want to work and will do everything but the work. And it’s your job to not only be sympathetic to that child but, as well as encourage them to work, also get the best out of 29 other students. Those are 29 other students who, for the most part, would rather listen to the disruptive student make fart noises than you tell them about the subtle links between the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the more recent Coalition invasion of Afghanistan (yes, that is exactly what happened in one of my latest Year 10 lessons).
So here I find myself, about to complete my year as an NQT on the precipice of stepping into another challenging school on a contract for long term cover.