Tag Archives: CPD

Getting rid of bad teachers

Labour haven’t learnt anything then!

How many “bad teachers” have been “got rid of”, Mr. Hunt? It turns out to be very few.  Why?  Because if a teacher is struggling, if they’re not getting the support and encouragement they need, if they’ve realised that Teaching isn’t the profession for them, then, guess what?  They’ve probably walked already.  And what percentage of teachers give up within the first five years?

The antagonism of the negative spiral!

Wouldn’t it be a much more sensible approach to protect and build upon the investment already made in bright,  willing,  young things?

On a par with Doctors and Lawyers you say?  CPD you say?  Well!  Give us the status (and the pay) of Doctors and Lawyers then, rather than treating us like political pawns!  I’ve oft said it here that teachers are constantly trying to improve their practice:  reviewing their work,  discussing ideas with colleagues, trying new things.  It doesn’t always have to be going on a course or observing someone else, you know!

Christine Blower was spot-on on BBCRadio 4’s Today programme, to point out the hurdles that teachers already face. They:

  • need a degree (and quite rightly so) and in my opinion, should also have or be working towards, Qualified Teacher Status;
  • have to pass their probationary year;
  • have Ofsted breathing down their neck;
  • have classroom observation.

A five or seven year MOT does seem a bit redundant (as well as beaurocratic and expensive).

Paraphrasing Mr. Hunt (careful there, James Naughty): “Teachers should be getting out of bed eagerly and racing to school.”  Well hang on a minute!  Why should the teaching profession be any different to any other?  But if teachers do happen to be keen,  it’s despite their goldfish-bowl environment!  Even this old cynic has eager-beaver days – the burning desire to see the best in students; to be astonished by their intelligence, imagination, manipulation of knowledge using their skills in creative ways, and to share in the joy of achievement.  In fact, as things stand,  if it weren’t for the students, I wouldn’t be in education! :/

Back to school for you I think, Mr. Hunt.  Nobody goes into the profession for the short days and long holidays, high pay or the stress-free life!

Baker Days

That’s what INSET used to be dubbed – in recognition that Kenneth,  Lord Baker,  reserved five days per year for in-service training – CPD in modern parlance.

Not that teachers in my experience ever get five days a year for training:  Senior Managers seem to think they can fill the time with ‘important’ meetings.  And yes,  whilst First Aid,  and Epipen training might be vital,  it doesn’t exactly meet teachers where they are.  Indeed,  some of the best INSET I’ve had,  is just being given time to think about the curriculum,  plan,  and talk with colleagues.

I suggest that, as often as not, getting better at what we do doesn’t happen at organised conferences, as a result of formal observations, or even in a conscious way necessarily at all:  it might be a casual conversation over a coffee at break (if you’ve got time for one),  something you happen to see a colleague do as you pass their classroom on the way to the photocopier,  a chance encounter in the lunch queue,  or an idea that someone’s suggested on Twitter.

But in the business-world of education,  it’s difficult to quantify that as even a satisfactory level of continuing professional development – even though, in all probability, those little ‘eureka’ moments are far more valuable than watching the guy down the front with his PowerPoint, droning on about the latest teaching fad!

Any practitioner worth their salt will be eager to experiment with new ideas to see what works.  And looking on over time, we see that a teacher’s practice does evolve.

Perhaps we should highlight the introduction of new methodology in a CPD ledger on the inside front cover of our planners, and return to comment on whether or not the idea worked, and what, if anything, can be improved.
Just a thought.