This was on the TES site…it is of course an exaggeration (well some of it) but it is important that you understand the problems that teachers and schools are facing with the current government.
A teachers career now last 5 years on average, this is something we should be very concerned about.
You dream that you are trapped in a failing education system where you are under appreciated and the government keeps moving the goal posts, while the kids misbehave and the parents are abusive and unsupportive.
The face of the principal keeps changing, as does the school’s name and uniform.
One by one the rest of the staff disappears under cost-saving redundancy measures, as more and more kids keep appearing in your class. Luckily, you are distracted by the mountain of last-minute emails and piles of urgent new paperwork. Meanwhile, all your lesson planning is washed away in the crashing wave of yet another new syllabus, at the same time that your students are required to take part in another subject’s catch-up session.
A snap inspection
You frantically search and search, but can never find the staff room. You are really thirsty and desperate for a hot drink. But there is no milk. No cups. No tea bags and no coffee. You find the teaspoon to be so filthy that it sticks to the table no matter how hard you try to lift it. Perhaps you can get a drink from the canteen, you think excitedly. You have a crisp five-pound note, but the cashless catering system switched to a new online-only system over the holidays, and the internet is down again.
Suddenly it starts raining very hard – as the fire alarm goes off. You end up standing in the rain for your entire tea break as the fire drill goes rather badly. The smaller children from the shoeless learning initiative are complaining loudly that their socks are soaking and their feet are cold. The caretaker seems unable to reset the alarm system.
Just then, a large black limo splashes up. Out step five identical Agent Smiths. It’s a snap Ofsted inspection. One walks up to you with a clipboard and demands to see your books. You try to explain that you’re not allowed inside because of the fire drill and that your books are there, but he just sneers, ticks the box marked “no evidence of marking found” and begins to move off to do the same to one of your few remaining colleagues. You try to protest, but the agent informs you, “You can’t challenge Ofsted’s findings”. The agent walks off laughing, in that sinister Agent Smith way…
A hush descends over the fire drill as the caretaker finally gets the fire bell to stop. The new, “new principal” announces that because of an administrative error, no one has been notified that there is a mandatory two-hour staff meeting after school tonight. When you point out that it will clash with tonight’s CPD session, the parents’ evening, a major school trip, the Ofsted inspection, a sports fixture and the school play, so no one is free to attend the meeting, you are then loudly and publicly castigated for your negative attitude. All the rain-slicked kids are staring at you and the principal with their mouths open in shock. Luckily, it is raining so hard by this point that it is impossible for them to see your tears.
You wake up in a cold sweat and your heart is beating so fast that it feels like it’ll fly out of your chest at any second. It’s 4.30am. You are feeling much, much more tired now than when you went to bed. You really want to go back to sleep, but your body is not cooperating. Your first day of the school year is here, and the inset session that will “explain” the new syllabus and how you are expected to deliver it starts in less than four hours…
The writer works at an all-through school in the south of England.