The new teacher advert has received mixed reviews. Some suggesting that the advert was “misleading.” Starting early was barely mentioned, yet leaving with the pupils, without marking, besmirched the credibility of the ad. (On the marking point, I have just double checked – he has got panniers on his bike.) Others took a different tact, spotlighting the highlights or sharing positive stories. Dare I say it, both sides are right.
The very complexity of teaching makes teaching tough, the workload expectations are weighty, the pressures experienced variably by staff are real and significant, context can amplify the challenge, and I wish the breadth of schools and provision were recognised by an ad campaign. Though I accept it is a ‘recruitment advert.’ Though, if I had to pick a side, I am firmly in the ‘teaching is one of the best jobs in the world camp.’ Here is why.
Like Mr Brown I arrived in the dark. There were few other cars on the road. After a morning run and podcast (intriguing research with Elspeth Kirkman, Senior Director: Health, Education, and Communities at the Behavioural Insights Team via the TES podcast), the school gates were opened and as each morning, I exchange pleasantries with one of our early start cleaners. Small things.
Like a handful of early starters, I use my morning to prepare for the day and I often have free access to the photocopier (a often faulty photocopier one of the social media complaints). Bonus. Yes it has to warm up. Yes it occasionally jams. Yes, I find those how to find the fault diagrams confusing. And no, a faulty photocopier frustration moment was not showcased in the advert.
More pleasant encounters on my way to briefing. It was informative, uptempo, appreciative of staff. Children’s well-being, their happiness as well as success on the agenda.
Tutor, with my co-tutor is always a positive start to the day. He is a fantastic colleague. I am fortunate.
Thursday’s are unusual. I see Year 9A twice. At the start and end of the day. An introduction to Othello Act 1 Sc 1 needs careful planning in a multicultural, multi-faith school. An opportunity to tackle far more than an extraordinary story – as well as connect with our Elizabethan history specialist who have been generous in sharing their expertise. I learnt that Queen Elizabeth often referred to herself as “Prince” rather than as Queen thus asserting her position as the Sovereign over that of a woman.
I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king – Queen Elizabeth I
A Y9B class, these boys are tremendous. They are committed to Shakespeare (or moving in that direction). A few of the students wanted some feedback on their final assessment of last term. We didn’t have time so I agreed to share the information at lunch.
Racing across to my next classroom. Y8 Romeo and Juliet – the students were again on top form. Act 1 Scene 1 from the Digital Theatre – bravo. One of the students had found the curated resources and had a good dig around. He shared me one of two interesting discoveries in return.
What followed was a great 15 minute conversation with one of the students on personal standards and my “difficult” lessons. We photographed his first and last assignment. He was so proud of himself and deservedly so. I am as proud – hence I asked his permission to showcase his work. We sent the photo home for him to share with his parents.
A literacy lesson, followed by the return on Y9A. More stepping carefully as we encountered Iago vitriolic retaliation and puppeteering and Brabantio’s wounded pride.
At the end of the day, worked through a knotty problem with a colleague. Wrote a summary of Act 1 Scene 3 in preparation for week 3. Set two homeworks. Updated my diary. Checked and answer emails.
I didn’t leave with the pupils. I am not looking to be provocative and I recognise that, regrettably, for various valid reasons, teaching needs the support of advertising campaign. I didn’t have a meeting to attend. I left at 4:45.