Friday, 5 June 2015

Can We Save Teaching from Being a Second Class Job?

It feels like teaching professionals are treated as adolescents.
And the teaching profession itself acts in that way too.

The profession has to ask the grown-ups (the government) for permission to work less than 60 hours per week, and is dumped on in relation to every other aspect of the way education is organised in England.

If the profession want to act as grown-ups, they need to find a way to take the decisions themselves. Teachers should be partners in deciding education policy in all its aspects, from the curriculum and school structures, to working conditions.

If we think that Ms Morgan is going to do anything to improve working conditions we need to think again. She has presented a bill to sack head teachers of “coasting” schools but has not defined what “coasting” means. So she can effectively sack anyone she wishes. And what has the profession done to oppose this crazy situation? Absolutely nothing!

Politicians do not respond to adolescents saying “please Miss it’s not fair”. They are in government because they are brutal in their ability to grab power.

The teaching profession cannot even organise a single clear representative response to what is being done to them. They need to become grown-ups and start to make grown up decisions.

A good place to start would be with a reform of who represents the profession. Teacher unions battle one another and sabre rattle, and head teacher organisations do not co-ordinate with one another or talk to the teacher unions.

If we cannot even get that sorted the profession is doomed to further decline as a second class job.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

CPD for Teachers the Charter School Way

A lot is written about Charter Schools and the American way of doing things.
Somehow these schools are held up as beacons of excellence. They know how to do things to get results. Educators in the UK clearly do not. Government would have you believe that UK educators do not have a clue.
This message of teacher incompetence in the UK is so often repeated that you might start to believe it and you might want to emulate our American counterparts.

Watch here how CPD was delivered for Chicago Public School teachers.
This is a professional development for teachers of Saturday ISAT preparation classes.
The video below is not a parody.

 Could this be coming to a school near you?

Monday, 1 June 2015

England's New Total Academy System 2020

Are you a teacher? You are a failure. Right? Your school is coasting. Right?

There is a way to fix this.

The UK Government will transform education in England. This fix is not an experimental new idea because it has already been tried in the good ole USA.

To help you understand how this is going to work, here is an animated feature starring little Timmy.

Timmy, likes his state school.
(Readers please note: In the USA they strangely call state schools "public school" whereas in the UK we know that public schools are not for the public).

Timmy gets a lesson in corporate education reform, starting with the mantra "Public Schools have failed." (The Bradley Foundation, a top rightwing think tank, has devoted more than $30 million to label public education as "failing" and promote privatization as the "solution.")
(Readers please note: Whenever something is completely bonkers, politicians always say the idea came from a "think tank".)

Unqualified Teachers Needed to Boost State Schools

When Michael Gove was Secretary of State for Education he had many ideas for improving state schools in England. One of these was to allow unqualified teachers to work in state schools. His argument was that private schools could employ unqualified teachers, so why not allow the same in state schools. These unqualified teachers would bring "much needed academic excellence".  He said that qualified teachers were objecting to this because they wanted to deprive poor children of the better teaching enjoyed in private schools.This idea became law.

We wanted to see some of this excellence at work and after much searching managed to find a great example of an unqualified teacher at work, sharing his academic excellence with a class.

So now you can judge for yourself. Your local children can enjoy this sort of excellence in a state school near you.

Those that can, teach, those that can't ....

There is an old saying which all teachers have heard many times.
"Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach."

I have always smiled through gritted teeth when hearing this, but I always thought it was generally a way of teasing teachers. A little gentle ribbing.

Now I am not so sure.

Government policy seems to be reinforcing a belief that teachers "can't".
Each press release seems to imply that anybody but teachers can teach, but teachers themselves cannot teach. Quite a paradox.

People who have no teacher training whatsoever are now allowed to teach in state schools. This is because they can bring excellence to the classroom.
But experienced and qualified teachers are treated as though they have nothing to offer. They are not worth listening to. They have the status of something you have trodden in that you would rather remove from your shoe and not smell too closely.

In many parts of the world, teachers are held in the highest regard. In the UK teachers are not, and their diminishing status is not helped by constant denigration from some politicians.

Who are the politicians spreading this negative message? Are they paragons of learning?
Let's take a look.

They Say .........

They must do something about Academisation.
They must do something about politics in education.
They must do something about teacher recruitment.
They must do something about teacher morale.
They must do something about teacher workload.
They must do something ........

Something Must be Done

When I was a main scale teacher I often thought “something must be done” about this or that.

As time passed I became a teacher leader and I realised that it was my job to do something.

I heard teachers around me continuing with the mantra “something must be done”. “They” should do something about “it”. As a leader I have always tried to understand what the “they” and “it” are, and to move on to the “how” stage, and the “actions” stage.
As a profession we don’t seem to have got beyond the “something must be done” stage. We seem to be hoping that “they” will do something different, be it the government or the opposition.

The only way anything different is going to happen is if the “they” becomes “we”.
Time for the profession to lead.