Gove doesn’t want to inflict himself on children… teachers yes, but pupils no.

Gove doesn’t want to inflict himself on children… teachers yes, but pupils no.

Apparently Gove believes that only qualified professionals should teach…well that’s the first I’ve heard of it. I thought anybody could teach – in fact I’m fairly sure if you scroll down this blog you’ll find an article called anyone can teach. Also claims he has a greater understanding of teachin from talkin to professionals than he would if he tried the job and that he RESPECTS the teaching profession…. and if that’s not a lie then I dont know what is. Or maybe he respects the profession and just not those of us who follow it. Anyway… 


17th October teacher strike: An open letter to parents

I completely agree with this man’s word – so I am going to spread them as far as I can.

Equus altus

Dear Parents

I’ve taken some time out to write this open letter to you because I believe it’s important to let you know why I am striking with my fellow teachers on Thursday 17th October.

Firstly, let me apologise for the inevitable inconvenience this action will cause many of you. Teachers do recognise – partly because many of them are parents themselves – that having to find childcare for the day or take a day off work to look after your children is a burden. That’s why taking strike action is always a very last resort. Believe me, none of us are particularly keen on losing a day’s pay either.

Many of you will have read in the press or heard on the news that teachers are taking strike action over changes to their pay and pensions. Often, this is shrouded in an air of disapproval, almost as if…

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An Antidote for Bullshit

After all the bullshit that’s happened over the last couple of weeks I went looking for positives as I was seriously questioning how I felt about being a teacher (something I have NEVER done before, and I’ve worked with some of the most dangerous and troubled kids in the country)


The Antidote for the bullshit turned out  to be the kids! Yesterday, one of my current year 11s asked for extra revision sessions (from my bottom set ‘couldn’t behave so was put in my class’ class) and whilst we were going through some work after school, one of last year’s year 11s came back to thank me in person. Thinking on it,  I realised how many other kids have said thank you to me this week on the way out of my classroom and it’s more than you’d expect.  Some even thanked me for helping them with homework during detentions. I’ve had unsolicited apologies for not doing homework, kids coming in to redo work to get better scores and kids so desperate to do well that they’ve cried. One of my year 11s even spent his lunch money on a geometry kit for his maths mock this morning. 

I don’t teach parents or the SLT or politicians, or inspectors – I teach my kids and it’s their rating that really matters.

Sick of the Bullshit

I’m so fed up with all the bullshit being lobbed at the teaching profession at the moment – and the way it’s affecting the quality of life of some great friends who have given a lot of time to help other peoples children, above and beyond what they are paid for. The disparity between the a supposedly ‘fair’ workload and what we are actually expected to do is a joke and if anyone questions it we’re accused of being unprofessional. We’re treated like we don’t give a damn about the kids in front of us and that we haven’t trained for our jobs or worked hard to gain experience. We’re judged professionally on 20-30 minutes of outside observation by someone who probably couldn’t do half of the job we’re doing and doesn’t know the kids or any of the background. I’ve seen/heard inspectors comment on things that didn’t happen in the lessons they have observed – which HAD ALREADY HAPPENED BEFORE THEY CAME IN – only to say that they have to comment on ‘what they see’.  Well, why the fuck don’t we  all wait for them to show up and teach the whole lesson in half the time – which is what they seem to want us to do. Are their any other professions where there is such a snap judgement made?

It makes me so cross that regardless of what we do, we get shat upon and NONE of the reforms have raised standards, and all the ‘scrutiny’ that is supposed to ensure ‘excellence’ just causes hurt and stress and DOESN’T make better teachers.  All it does is demoralise dedicated professionals who are trying their best – because unlike the ministers and bureaucrats who think they know what they’re talking about, they actually care about and understand children and teenagers.  You can come out  with all sorts of bullshit about that not being the case for all teachers, but honestly in the course of my careers I’ve met only 2 or 3 teachers who genuinely didn’t give a shit about the kids and I doubt any of them are still teaching. This profession is hard enough if you love it, it’s hard enough to get right without the pressures of tickbox teaching and arbitrary target setting and league tables and twats like Gove.

That’s why I’m going on strike.

Teaching and Mental Health

There’s no question that teaching is a stressful job on all levels – physically, mentally and emotionally. It takes a great deal of strength on all areas to function as a teacher in the modern British education system, between the ridiculous work load, the cultural of disrespect to learning and the constant barrage of people telling you that you’re wrong  or bad at your job it’s a wonder any of us survive at all. Add to that a mental health condition and you’re potentially talking disaster… or so you might think. 

I’ve been a clinical depressive longer than I’ve been a teacher and in my 8 year career have had more time off because of car accidents than I have as a direct result of my depression.  I turn into a nervous wreck around performance management time, more so than most and during the last inspection forgot how to sign my own initials simply because of the stress I was under. So why did I go into a high stress profession? Surely, it can’t be good for me, and surely it’s not good for the kids? Well, actually that’s bollocks. You see, Miss doesn’t get depressed. I generally don’t suffer from symptoms at school – on the drive there and back yes – but not in my class room. I suffer way more during the holidays than I do during term time.

I was born to teach, I love the kids and my job and I think I do it well. If i suffered from migraines we wouldn’t even be having this conversation – and what is depression if not another kind of severe head pain?  Would the teaching profession be better off without me? I don’t think so. I doubt it would be better off without all the other teachers who struggle with mental health issues either. 

Who isn’t the education system failing?

If you read the education news you’ll find that the education system fails just about everybody – the latest 2 groups being the ‘invisible’ rural poor and ‘gifted and talented’ pupils. Are we giving anyone a good deal? I get really frustrated with these blanket statements about teachers and the education system that seem to continually paint the whole profession as incompetent, uncaring, lazy and unprofessional. I do the best I can for the kids I have, but I’m not magic and I’m entitled to time off from thinking about work. If the government want to look into anything, how about they start investigating why society no longer values the education system, and why so many people see fit to kick the free schooling they get in the teeth – I think they might find it’s to do with the fact that culture/the media scorns education – the ‘I never did good at school and it aint done me no harm’ attitude, and the value placed on non-academic talents as opposed to serious occupations. The media teaches young people to value the wrong things (in general) – making the job of teachers harder and harder – make school cool and raise national expectations instead of slagging off teachers and watch our children blossom. 

The Guilts

It’s Sunday evening and I’m having and attack of the guilts. I’ve done virtually no work this weekend – virtually not actually. Virtually no work comprises an hour this morning and 2 hours on Friday evening. I seem to feel like this every time I take a weekend completely off. I seem to have convinced myself that unless I work all day – I often get to work at 7.30, and leave between 4 and 4.30, sometimes without a break – and then at least 6 hours over the weekend, and a couple of evenings for good measure then I can’t possibly be doing my job properly. My lessons are planned, my marking is done, my data is entered – what else should I be doing? 

Does anybody else suffer from the guilts? or do you have an impossible work load you can’t find the end of?