Tuesday, 22 September 2015

just like (starting over)

Previously I wrote about the reason why I thought teachers were leavingthe profession. Whilst I was angry that hard-working, brilliant teachers were put in this position I felt a little guilty for damning the career that I have lived and breathed for almost two decades.

I have noticed a backlash from younger, newer teachers querying why teachers moan about the best job in the world.  Whilst I won't negate the trials of more - how can I say this - long in the tooth teachers (I can say that, coz I am one), I acknowledge that in order to protect our profession, we need to look after our newbies.

When a teacher steps foot onto school soil for the first time since they were in uniform themselves, surely support and communication is paramount? What rookies don’t need are grumblies in the corner vomiting unpleasantries about the school, the staff, the students, or the font on the new stationery. And the worse thing we can do is ignore new teachers - is it that they remind us a little too much of the good old days before reality set in? Or is that we just don't have the time to exchange pleasantries any more, what with the marking, planning, reports, detentions? I was lucky: my teaching placement - staff were terrific and although it was the hardest thing I'd ever done, I loved it.  However one teacher ignored me. Every day. Barely managed a smile or hello for a whole term - yet is renowned for their expertise in supporting teachers!

New teachers are, on the whole, superb. I have witnessed a passion and enthusiasm for teaching that has made me recognise why I stayed in this job for so long.  Their energy and desire to improve can be contagious - if we let it. Many new teachers are coming in to schools from different routes now and, yes, it can be a little upsetting and confusing for those of us on the inside. Inexperienced, unqualified and cheaper teachers are being brought in over the heads of accomplished staff, who are then expected to train them - on the job. But if you remove the politics of the situation you have a new person and a new colleague who is looking up to the experts for guidance.  Most schools have structured inductions for new staff to progress, but it's in the staffroom and the classroom where their days can be made or broken.

They shouldn't be ignored or made to feel they can't suggest ideas in meetings, or that they can't enjoy their new roles openly for fear of being ridiculed.  Not all new teachers are inexperienced in the workplace.  The veterans in the classroom should listen and glean as much energy and new ideas from our apprentices. It might do us some good to look at our careers with fresh eyes. Hard as it may be.

This is not to say we paint a rosy picture for new staff. It's tough out there and only the strongest will survive. There are times when a busy middle manager doesn't have time to hear about the wonderful display created out of macaroni and feathers in the corridor..  But this is where experience steps in to take a hand. Sometimes old hands need to tell the new kids on the block when to sit back down.  Gently. 

nd to put my cynical firmly back on my head - when those bright young things swoop over us to claim golden thrones of power, maybe they'll fondly remember the wise owls who gave them tidbits of advice back in the day. Before they sack us.

This post was originally published on post40bloggers.com: education