in Education

The six month slap-in-the-face for UK teachers

My video response to the news that the UK government is proposing 6-month teacher training ‘fast-track’ schemes. This is apparently to make it easier for those made unemployed in the economic downturn to enter (what has been called up until this point) the ‘teaching profession’.

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14 Comments

  1. Doug
    stop on, once again the students are not considered, and we as teachers get a slap in the face, we have the GTC telling us we are not professional enough, and then we are told anyone can do your job with the minimal instruction, I bet the GTC roll over on this as well!

  2. Totally agree ! Yet again decisions being made my people who have no idea about education and the process of teaching and managing learning. I think I’ll do a six month conversion course and become a surgeon ?

  3. What a tragedy. Heaven forbid we go down this path in Australia. What an absolute joke.

    The sheer audacity of of this plan is astounding. How dare politicians and officials, who make it their routine business to blame teachers and schools for (what they perceive to be) poor student outcomes, introduce a plan that reduces the level of training that a teacher receives. The lack of logic here is staggering. If they really think that teachers and curriculum are so bad, surely the answer would be to train the MORE, not less?

    If politicians really believe that any of the problems we face in schooling are a result of teachers’ lack of expertise knowledge in their discipline or industry, they are sorely mistaken. And I think some of those out of work bankers who think that they can walk in to a classroom and the kids are going to care where they used to work are in for a rude shock ;)

  4. I suspect that the plan might result in a few surprises. We might find a few people who discover a talent and a love for teaching, but I predict that they will be in the minority.

    Like Foxy, I am more concerned about the learners than the teachers (not that I am unconcerned about the teachers). But my worry is that many of the people who may be inclined to go this route will do so because it provides them with a way to keep earning until the economy turns the corner and they can go back to their ‘real’ jobs. For the kids, this effectively means that they will have some teachers who always have one eye out the window to see if there isn’t anything more interesting going on outside.

    I have often wondered out loud what the archeologists and social anthropologists of another civilisation would make of the remains of our society. Here is a man who kicks a bag of wind around a field and gets paid £100K/week. Here is another man – looks as if his name was Dug Balshew ;o) – who was a dedicated teacher, preparing the young people of society to take their place as the captains of industry, leaders of commerce, doctors, lawyers, political figures… and, yes, teachers. And he earned, what? £35K/year?

    What kind of a society are we that we pay critical people like nurses, teachers, police officers, paramedics, firefighters barely a living wage, while our entertainers earn top dollar?

    Don’t leave teaching, Doug. I understand how you feel, but keep your eye on the kids. They’re going to need you even more if this plan comes into being.

  5. Doug, don’t leave the profession!

    Actually, teaching is easy, just like parenting. That’s why we are all so naturally good at it without any prior experience. And that’s why we have such a well-rounded, balanced and well-behaved population coming up behind us.

    I’m thinking of getting out of teaching, though. I fancy surgery. I understand there’s a six-month on-the-job qualification programme being planned by the Health Ministry…

  6. I *wish* I earned £35k a year, Karyn! We just roll over and die as teachers as we’re too committed to the profession. I despair, I really do. When is education going to be wrestled out of the hands of party-politics and become independent? The sooner the better I say…

  7. wouldn’t you love to see some of these faceless bureaucrats (not to mention Ed Balls-up) doing a 6-month training and then being thrown to the lions at some “challenging” comp or other?

  8. Watching your video comment was like a window into my soul, too. I’m considering moving abroad to apply to none less than private international school. They have values such as “encouraging pupils to act with conviction…resilience in the face of set backs…curiosity about other cultures in our community…” I never thought I’d see the day… I’m fed up of meaningless targets, useless paper-pushers and box-tickers and a government that thinks teaching is not a skilled profession. I’m an AST and I LOVE the work I do and value each and every pupil who crosses my path. But enough is enough. Goodbye GB.

  9. Not sure about your comments about the GTP. I completed a primary GTP a couple of years ago and feel that it prepared me just as well for the start of my teaching career as a PGCE. I was in a school from the outset, but did not teach to begin with. I had lots of opportunities to observe experienced teachers and spent all my time reflecting on and creating action plans to improve my practice. The course did also involve a few days at university, but personally I learned more in the classroom. I was observed lots during the year and did learn about behaviour management.

    I suppose the GTP experience varies between universities and on the schools that applicants are placed in, although I suppose this is also the case for the PGCE route. I think it is a bit demeaning to your GTP-trained colleagues to suggest that the GTP leaves us unprepared compared to teachers who chose other routes.

  10. Well, I’m not entirely against the proposal. A one year PGCE is really only about 9 months once you take off the long Summer vacation. Of course, that is reducing the course by 33%. I wonder what they will choose to leave out?

    • Probably all the useful stuff – any mention of using technology, anything other than the absolute rudiments of behaviour management, *alternative* ways of doing things… the list goes on. :-(