This is just a very quick blog entry today on my day off. The school that I am currently contracted to is still reeling from having their OFSTED inspection. Until it is announced officially I won’t say what the school got but the end result has been staff members who are fully exhausted and demotivated.
I have never liked OFSTED even back in the 1990’s when I first qualified. If it was the kind of organisation that worked with the profession to flag up training needs and petition the government for funds to improve education, then I wouldn’t mind the pressure of their inspections. However I have yet to see this system work this way. It doesn’t serve to flag up any training needs and to recognise the outstanding work that this profession does at creating the future work force. Instead it has been a political whipping stick to keep a government in power and it has also served a culture where we can no longer teach life skills but instead are forced to ‘teach to test’ so that teachers can stay in work. It is very sad to witness the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit professionals for the role of teaching given issues such as these.
I recall retraining from a customer service background because I believed that I could make a difference in a child’s life. I was inspired by my Chemistry teacher who made learning so much fun and who contributed to helping me pass my O’Levels. But it looks like we are even losing teachers who think like this.
We have a system at work where experienced teachers offer a silent presence in the classroom for NQTs so that the new teachers do not have to struggle with the so called “challenging classes”. Since September I have been supporting a new female teacher with such a class. On speaking to her this week, my heart went out to her. She had already had enough after just 5 months of teaching. She explained about how at 27 years of age, she is exhausted, and in tears most nights due to the work load. The only comfort I could offer her (since I agreed with her) was the fact that this year, for this school, had indeed been quite a challenging year and things could only get better once we get over this current valley low. But I could see that she was not convinced. The only light at the end of the tunnel for her was when I told her that there are other schools which are not as intense as our current one and for her to stick at her job until she passes her NQT year. Another young teacher remarked about how she would love to just do a job where when she comes home each night she can just eat normally and not be juggling this with putting in an additional 2 to 3 hours work and be so sleep depraved. Both of these young teachers are what society would deem as outstanding teachers. They are excellent at what they do. But they are burnt out – one after 5 months and one after 3 years.
So this blog is a tiny rant at how politicians move the goal posts so much within my profession (and don’t even get me started with what they are doing to the junior doctors and nurses) that we are currently experiencing a mass exodus of teachers with no one qualified enough to adequately fill these positions to ensure our children receive high quality teaching.