Monday, 17 October 2011

Shattered Illusions

And there was me thinking my bosses were taking me seriously.

About the 'I-am-going-to-stab-you- Miss,' student.

Alas, no. It seems that 'Every Child Matters' but the teacher doesn't.

The powers-that-be are all-inclusive. No child shall be denied an education. We must forgive. We must give a second chance. A third chance. A fourth chance. Ad infinitum chance. The child knows not what he does. The child will be back in my class after half-term. With a knife? Who knows...who cares? Not my place of employment.

Still, at least I know where I stand. With my back as close to the wall as possible.

Okay, I know. But flippancy is the only way I can respond to this. I am livid. Fuming. I can't think about it too much, or I'll never get any work done.

And here's another thing. Years ago, when I first started teaching, I would set essays for my GCSE students. Extended writing as it is called nowadays. Students would write a lot. I would mark a lot. Student would receive back their essay, sorry, 'extended writing', and would improve it and hand it in again to be marked again. And so it went on until one of us peaked/ gave up.

But then it was decided that students should be spending NO more than 20 minutes in a lesson on a single activity. Which kind of put paid to the essay writing. Teachers like me became paranoid we would fail an observation if an observer came into class and found students spending more than the allotted 20 mins per activity. So we stopped. Exercise books became little more than notebooks.

And now we find that observers are coming into lessons and complaining about the lack of extended writing in exercise books. So I'm damned if I essay-set, and damned if I don't. I'm going back to essay setting. It's a must as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to be a disappointment whichever way I go, so I may as well go the way I think will benefit my students the most.

Today I have learned that whatever I do, I'm unlikely to win. I think it's because I am becoming increasingly slow at guessing the next change in fad. In order to get back up to speed, therefore, I'm going to have a go at predicting the next range of educational fads:

1) it will be discovered that students learn better if they are all sitting facing the front and listening to the teacher.

2) students are children, who are not independent because they are children, therefore cannot be left to be 'independent learners' because, as children, they look towards adults to be led. 'Tis the way of Nature.

3) it will be discovered that computer games and violent films are detrimental to educational progress and social and emotional development and as such, both will be banned until a student achieves 5 GCSEs of grade C and above...

4) ...ditto hormones

5) it will be discovered that students will make better progress if they bring a pen to school with them

That'll do for now. No more whinging. Time for a cuppa and a dose of Doc Martin. On the telly. Not the flea treatment.

Although something is making me itch.


Andy said...

Never one to be a pedant (as you know) but a good dose of Doc Martin is probably a kick to the head from a skinhead. You're thinking of Bob Martins crappy flea treatment! Xxxx

Elizabeth said...

Your honesty is refreshing and I think every teacher feels your pain. Admin needs to be on our side, supporting and encouraging their staff. Teachers deserve to have a safe and encouraging teaching/ learning environment as much if not more than the students. How much will teachers put up with before they say enough? And when that day comes, more than one student will be "left behind". "Teachers are people also!" The administration, community and world are sending a sad message to the people who have dedicated their lives and hearts to students. Actions speak much louder than words: The actions of those in charge are saying: You are replaceable employees, not valued & respected life long educators! Hand In There, You Are Valuable and You Do Make A Difference!