The Great Education Debate (continued).
As promised, here is the latest response to my email that was published in last week’s blog, under this section-title.
“I decided to have a look for myself and I’ve seen the first three episodes of ‘Tough Young Teachers’. When I brought it up at school all the other teachers in my department had seen it as well!( Apparently I am the only person that doesn’t like to watch my job at home…).
What I found interesting was that the older teachers regaled us with tales of schools they had worked in before…absolute horror stories of what children had done in secondary schools; thrown chairs, started fights with teachers, etc and I guess the lesson to be learnt here is that horrible things happen these days, and when they do, there’s not much you can do to stop it. It’s just the experience of the job that teaches you to act better in those situations.
With regards to the “failing” teacher in ‘Tough Young Teachers’, it seems a bit unfair that she has been given such a challenging class from the outset. When you start training, they sometimes give you horrible classes for the experience but a sensible head of department, once you were employed, would give you “nice” classes to start off with so you can develop as a teacher and build up to the more challenging classes.
You cannot reasonably expect a new teacher to have the same skills as an experienced teacher, this is why we are paid less! I guess the argument is that this scheme is for exceptional graduates that are employed on the basis that they are willing to face these challenges from day one, and are put in challenging schools so it may be that all the classes are be ‘difficult.’
In addition, this teacher *may* have set things off on the wrong foot and it’s very difficult to go on from there without proper support. If this sort of thing happened in my school, my head of department would change teachers, if she thought it was necessary, or do something else to help them.
Saying that, I also know that there are some people out there that just can’t cut it, and don’t intuitively know how to deal with children. It seems such a waste that this scheme is designed to attract strong graduates but then put them under such pressure whereas under normal teacher training circumstances, they would thrive and develop at a normal rate!
Also with regards to this “attention span” issue, there is also a rise in diagnosed children with learning disabilities AND medical disabilities. There are a huge number of children on our “special needs” register, with kids having all sorts of problems from dyslexia to being paralysed from the chest down! So I don’t know if the kids really are any different today, or just diagnosed more, but if someone has a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, then we have to show how we are supporting them, (e.g. with short, tasks), and how we make our lessons are accessible to all.”