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GERM (Global Education Reform Movement), Good Teaching, Resignations, Stress & Depression, Teachers' Own Words, UK Schools

Another teacher bites the dust

teachers drugsIn the UK, USA and New Zealand, good teachers are leaving the profession. Talent that our children need is walking away and saying no more. Why? The post below, from UK teacher Paul Jenkins, sums it up for many.

Why would I turn my back on a profession that can fill you with such simple, no holds barred nice-ness?

Well, it’s simple.

I am too tired.

I have been doing this now for eleven years. That’s 55 parents evenings, 11 open nights, 161 sets of monitoring data, 22 observations, countless referrals/phone calls home/detentions and most importantly – 2 breakdowns.

And number three was on its way when I finally threw in the towel and said last month that enough’s enough.

Read the rest of Paul’s words here.  The specifics may differ from teacher to teacher, but in the end it amounts to the same – teachers are being run ragged and blamed for all society’s ills, with little to no respect from those in power.

Thank you to Dita De Boni for reminding Kiwis that teachers are working for the children. Almost all teachers are doing a good job. They work hard. They care.

Teachers work within a system that is broken in many ways, especially when it comes to children with special educational, medical or emotional needs, and yet they battle on, doing what they can.

Paul puts it best when he says:

My real reason for going can almost be boiled down to my experience of one child.

The pupil in question comes from an extremely difficult personal situation and has suffered from severe bouts of ill health during her primary years. She has missed cumulatively around four years of her early education and as a consequence is as close to illiteracy as you can get. The cat as they say in learning support is barely sitting on the mat.

Her target level, which is as low as can be for my subject of drama is still too high for her to attain as she will need to demonstrate a basic competency with a provided script.

We have been prompting, learning by rote and generally getting round things in best way that we possibly can. I have seen her develop in twelve weeks from a physically inward and mute young girl, into a nervous but committed young girl, who always gets on stage with her group, smiles her way through the lesson and has begun answering carefully structured questions that allow her to achieve without worrying about something as pesky as being able to read.

And her report from me? A letter and a number. She is a 2c. She is red. She is underachieving.

Her work, effort and progress have been encapsulated into a figure in a column. And I’m ashamed of that.

Her parents didn’t attend parents evening so I was unable to explain their daughters apparent ‘failure’ to them in person. I phoned them to explain but to be honest it felt hollow. That was when I knew I was in the wrong job and I went to see our head to tender my resignation.

I understand that you need standards, I understand that pupil progress needs to be measured and I know that in order to build a society that is founded on a strong sense of achievement you need to be rigorous in your approach. But I honestly believe that we’ve forgotten the the very essentials of what it is to be a teacher. It’s not to create hollow vessels that can hold a mountain of information ready for an examination. It’s much, much bigger than that.

Any system that reduces all children to mere data, ignoring all else that they are, is a broken system.

Parents, surely this is not what you want? Please speak up, because only your voices count with politicians, and it is they that push these broken systems and failed ideologies.  Teachers, we have learned the hard way, count for nothing.

Finally, Paul, if you read this, you sound like a wonderful teacher and a very caring person. I wish you well.  Kia kaha – stay strong.

~ Dianne

Read also: https://saveourschoolsnz.com/2014/04/15/teacher-stress-depression-and-suicide/

 

About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Another teacher bites the dust

  1. Or the old “Not Achieved” when they have made a stunning piece of furniture only to not quite have the paper work for the required standard in Technology.

    Like

    Posted by Carolyn Compton | December 20, 2014, 9:56 am
  2. Tired yes, mentally, physically, emotionally and dare I say it… spiritually. Like many I’ve spoken with and read about, after 12 years of teaching I am TIRED!
    What to do? Stay in the teaching profession and burn out? Keep teaching but ‘take it easy’ not putting in 100% passionate effort for the kids, their families, my Principal and my personal work ethic, integrity and purpose?
    or do something else that I’m interested in that won’t destroy me?
    This is the crossroads I am at.
    Tired yes, very very tired.

    Like

    Posted by paulk | January 31, 2015, 9:32 am

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