I’ve not been teaching too long. I’m still on my first generation – not a teacher who taught their students’ parents (or grandparents, as is the case of one or two of my colleagues!) I didn’t get into teaching until my mid-thirties and had a lot of life experience outside of teaching before putting myself into the classroom. That’s why, at times, I find the job so bizarre. It is unlike any other job I’ve had, and I’ve had a few. The most bizarre aspect of this job is that everybody has an opinion about teachers and the profession. Everybody. I find this very strange because I don’t really have opinions about shopkeepers, or accountants, or people who dig holes in roads for a living (do they have a name or title?) I certainly wouldn’t tell any of the above how to do their jobs, or claim to know what it’s like to be one of those people doing the job. But I guess because we all went to school, to greater or lesser degrees, many of us think we know what we’re talking about when it comes to teaching. This, of course, isn’t helped too much by the government and media, who also claim to know what they’re talking about when it comes to teaching. Politicians always amuse me. The Prime Minister will often put together the Cabinet, comprising of people who have no experience whatsoever about the thing they’re supposed to be in charge of. The Defense Secretary has never fired a gun, let alone experienced the fear of armed conflict. The Health Secretary has never had to diagnose illness or repair another human being. The Education Secretary has never taught a single person. And they all claim to know what they’re doing. How? I can’t even put a shelf up straight, or hang a door, so I’m hardly going to put myself forward as head of construction at Barratt Homes!
Which is why we need more people to share ideas and opinions about how it all works. After all, despite all the whinging that we teachers can do, the main victims in this are our next generation. If we don’t get it right, how can we expect them to? If we don’t help them now, how do they help themselves when they get into the big bad world?