Let’s bash the teachers

Schooldays:

Rules are always made about others, never about oneself. When something draconian is brought in, playing to the gallery, it’s nauseating.

I’ve been in many jobs not education related and they’ve ranged from the cushy [civil servant] to the tough [storeman and head of a school]. This blog has many times been down on today’s so-called education, lefty teachers and teacher training – all of that.

One thing it is not down on is the holidays. I’d like to put a two year curriculum into your hands, with your targets for 80% of the students in your class, give you 35 chavs of both sexes in a middling urban area, two-thirds of them ethnic and ask you to get on with it. How many days would you last? How many hours?

If Gove had said let’s rearrange summer holidays – fine, let’s. Let’s make them three lots of three weeks and one lot of four weeks in summer. Not a problem. Good for parents, good for staff, good for children.

But the idea of teacher bashing from a position of complete non-understanding of what’s involved – Gove can go take a hike. Some comments at the Telegraph:

As an overpaid teacher who enjoys a cushy job with excessive holidays it never ceases to amaze me that the many posters on threads such as this who work in jobs so much harder than ours for poor pay and no holidays never think of re-training to become a teacher.

After all there is a shortage of teachers in Britain so they should be able to get a job, then they can stop whinging about how easy it is to be a teacher and enjoy a cushy overpaid job.

Or:

If this nutty idea goes ahead, there’ll be an even bigger shortage. This whole story is cynical populism, designed to bring out the foaming-mouthed teacher-haters, and it’s worked a treat.

Sure enough, one idiot with no understanding whatever:

Teachers….Man up and work normal hours.

I’ll say it again – I’ve been in jobs which officially worked longer hours per day and days per year but stated hours were actual hours. They’re not with teachers of any merit.

Here’s a comment on that:

Started work at 7.45 this morning, taught 5 hours of lessons, ran the admin for my form, lost my protected preparation time to dealing with a parent, left school at 4.30, just about to start the evening’s marking and prep for tomorrow. Expect to finish around 10.30pm. That’s an average day and I work most of the weekends and a large part of the holidays.

Most of the teachers I know work exactly the same hours.

I can confirm that in the private sector at least, that is so. A typical day will come out to around 8-9 hours once you have it down to a fine art and then maybe 6 hours on the weekend planning the next week, often on a Sunday evening.

The stress level can vary enormously as you’re dealing with limited people who have no stake in things being calm and collected. One does get on top of it and then it’s not so stressful but I’ve seen staff under great strain.

Don’t get me wrong – many criticisms are valid:

Performance management for teachers is non existent. When has a teacher been dismissed for poor performance? I mean for example turning up for work every day on time but doing a bad job?

The low performers get nudged out to leave with a glowing reference in order to palm them off to the next unfortunate school to fall for it.

In the private sector they do but I take the point. And:

GCSE’s – you couldn’t make it up. Teachers allowing kids to re-submit course work 6 and 7 times until its at the right level.

Special intervention classes to get people upto the holy grail “C” grade. Thus devaluing any children who are actually at that level.

That’s so and needs to be addressed. Heads need to roll. But that’s a different issue to holidays. I can only say walk a mile in a teacher’s shoes and see what you say then about his or her holidays.

13 comments for “Let’s bash the teachers

  1. April 19, 2013 at 10:31 am

    “After all there is a shortage of teachers in Britain so they should be able to get a job, then they can stop whinging about how easy it is to be a teacher and enjoy a cushy overpaid job.”

    I tend to agree, there must be more to this teaching lark than meets the eye, the grass is always greener etc, it’s not the sort of life I would choose, if I were any good at teaching (which I’m probably not).

  2. April 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    The low performers get nudged out to leave with a glowing reference in order to palm them off to the next unfortunate school to fall for it.

    Sadly, this often results in them being booted up into influential positions; incompetence often accompanies the inflated idea of their own abilities which impels them to apply for jobs further up the hierarchy.

    Take, for example, a certain tutor of PGCE students; a man of staggering ineptitude with little in his head beyond a hideously flawed ideology and his own delusions of greatness. A chance encounter with one of his former teaching colleagues elicited guffaws of laughter when his name was mentioned; “Oh, he was completely useless! To be honest, they had to give him a great reference so he’d get the college job; if he’d stayed here, one of us would probably have ended up killing him!”

    But this isn’t really about education; it’s about providing free childcare throughout the year and thus justifying reduced child tax credits.

  3. April 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t know much about teaching so I have a question. You’ve adequately explained what teachers do in the evening and what actual hours they work. What do they do in the seemingly endless holidays?

    • April 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Recover!

      Teaching (or at least good teaching) can be likened to a professional theatrical performance; you have to be lively enough to capture the interest of your pupils and know your subject matter and lesson plan by heart, and the show must go on regardless of how you are feeling. However, you also have to prepare for regular assessment, sometimes by a hostile management, and – increasingly – watch out for deliberate provocation by pupils in search of YouTube footage.

      It can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, especially when you have difficult pupils. In some schools, everything you say and do must be considered for potential breaches of whatever this month’s politically corrects policies might be- no sarcasm permitted! – and pupils are constantly on the lookout for something they can use against you, thanks to erroneous playground tales of lavish compensation payments for verbal ‘abuse’.

      Many more weeks of this and burnout could be even more of a problem than it currently is – and it’s the good teachers who will be lost.

      Oh, and if you teach languages or geography, at least one week of your holidays will be spent shepherding teenagers round distant locations (and staying up all night in some grotty youth hostel to make sure they don’t get pregnant or set fire to anything).

      • April 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm

        Heh! Makes sense.
        There was none of that crap when I was at school though. Put a foot out of line and the teachers would come down on you hard. Very hard, with no worries about breaking some lefty code and getting in the shit.

        The lefties weren’t in power then though. Good times. :mrgreen:

        • April 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm

          I seem to recall that the lefties were in power then, that was part of the problem.

          • April 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

            John Major was PM when I was at school

  4. Voice of Reason
    April 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Yet another page copied from the US Republican party, which has spent the last 30 years pounding on state school mand their teachers.

  5. ivan
    April 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    The long summer holidays in Victorian times we there to allow the children to work on the farms getting in the crops. Since farming today is very highly mechanized the need for long summer holidays no longer applies.

    Having been a teacher, that left the profession when the leftie stupidity reared its head, I see a need for revision of the school year into something much more practical. Maybe we should be looking at 4 terms of equal length – 10 or 11 weeks – with equal length holidays separating them.

    • April 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      An excellent solution, pleasing nobody.

      • ivan
        April 20, 2013 at 12:29 am

        Which makes it the best solution – everyone can grumble over nothing.

  6. Single Acts of Tyranny
    April 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for the Betty Boo video, haven’t heard it in a raccoon’s age. Great stuff.

  7. Greg Tingey
    April 22, 2013 at 8:35 am

    As an ex-teacher (I coundn’t stand the ignorance & “correctness” of some) I agree.
    It is VERY Stressful – you are “on stage” when you are in front of the class …..

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