I’ll be totally honest and say that I never thought this day would come.
I have been in a job that I have loved for 15 years.
Teaching is all I ever thought I would do. All I have ever done. All I have ever wanted to do.
I am sat here, surrounded by the 4 brightly coloured walls, full of colourful displays that I hope I’m remembered for, saddened by the deafening silence of the classroom now that all of my class have disappeared off on their Easter Holidays.
This very room has been my second home for so long.
For the hour when I am in the classroom, with the class, teaching, I love it. It’s still the most rewarding feeling to know that you have taught, supported, encouraged and guided a child throughout their learning.
But sadly, that’s not the job any more.
The powers that be, the political masterminds who believe they know how children should be taught, have changed the job, beyond measure. They have changed the dynamic in the classroom and the pedagogy behind modern day learning.
The Government’s frequent, rapid changes to both the curriculum and expectations are too dramatic to not warrant consultation.
The latest trend in teaching styles, seem to put the teacher in the background; giving pupils ownership of their learning.
Gone are the days of teacher led lessons, where the teacher utilises their expert knowledge to progress learning.
Has the pendulum swung too much towards pupil based learning therefore under utilising the teacher’s knowledge and skillset? Is this the deliberate intention of the DfE?
The latest Government figures suggest that the number of teachers quitting the profession have hit a record high, of 4000 a month.
And that saddens me. So much.
The Government often quotes how the greatest minds and intelligent people with skillsets should be utilised in education. Why do the Government think that these people would want to put themselves into the current teaching environment, probably on far less money than they are currently earning?
BBC news have been covering this very story. The demand for teachers is growing because of the baby boom. But it’s getting harder to recruit the target number of teachers with an apparent 7% shortfall in the required number of trainee teachers.
However, surely the BBC have missed the point with regard to teaching numbers? I believe that the focus should ultimately be on retaining existing teachers and re-recruiting those with experience, that have left the profession.
This should surely be the top priority for the next Education Secretary: to ensure that teachers remain in the profession.
With the current funding issues encapsulating all schools, experienced teachers high up the pay scale are almost automatically knocked out of the running for jobs because schools can’t afford to pay them – it’s surely the only industry where experience is NOT an advantage?
In a results driven environment, full of tick boxes and paperwork, I started to wonder and question where the actual ‘teaching’ that I had trained so hard for, had sadly disappeared to.
The current expectation put on teachers is without a doubt, unrealistic and dangerously unmanageable.
Pupils have become instruments for teachers to achieve their performance management targets rather than individuals. I am still bemused by the expectation that all pupils are expected to make the same amount of progress within an academic year. This is ridiculous. If we were all the same, we would all be the same as adults. All children learn and progress at different rates and it is completely wrong for a teacher to be held accountable for that.
This is a job and a profession that I never thought I would ever leave.
But right now, my own children and my family need to come first.
There’s a common phrase that is branded around within schools, ‘Every Child Matters’.
And yes, that’s true. However teaching, be it full time or part time is growing increasingly impossible for teachers with their own children. The sheer demand of the job that impacts so heavily on a teacher’s own time, made me grow increasingly resentful for the time I was spending on the children in my class, as opposed to my own children. My own 2 beautiful children who needed their Mummy.
Sadly, it’s more a case of ‘Every Child Matters, apart from your own.’
And I wasn’t prepared for that to be the case, anymore.
No more using my days off to write lesson plans for the following week.
No more spending weekends alone, making resources while the rest of the family head off to the park.
No more rushing or skipping a bedtime story so that I can get on with the stacks of marking, every night.
No more hours analysing computer screens of tracking sheets and data spreadsheets.
No more proving progress in order to justify and maintain my salary.
Very sadly, teaching is not a job any more; it’s a lifestyle choice. I wanted to make the choice to change my lifestyle. I was missing out on my children.
Regretfully, the number of qualified teachers leaving the profession is only going to rise, if nothing is done to change the unrealistic conditions of service.
Eventually there are not going to be enough teachers for the number of children in Britain and therefore, is the focus on pupil led learning and the under utilisation of a teacher’s skillset, a way of opening the door for unqualified staff?
I am genuinely concerned about who will be teaching my own children, when they get to school age. It’s not acceptable to simply just have a body at the front of the classroom.
For our education system to rival the best in the world, we need to retain experienced staff who are experts in their field, who have trained and dedicate their careers to helping our children grow.