A little positivity …

Last week I wrote a post (-> Here)  about the looming election which was borne out my frustration that if you read most of the edu-articles in the media that teachers are rubbish, schools are rubbish and we are all a bunch of negferrets who want to accept the status quo. Well it caused quite a curfuffle on twitter … in fact the swear box is owed a few quid by one tweacher … you know who you are 🙂 …  and as a result, one of my besties (in fact she is my Twitter BFF!!) wrote a response to my original post. I’ve been meaning to post it all week, but hey I’ve been poorly … have I mentioned that? Still struggling but my tree is now up and I’ve spent the day cleaning (get me! I even hoovered under AND behind the sofa! I know! Rock ‘n Roll!!)

So to the response … by way of introduction: Emma Bell (you can find her on Twitter as @El_Timbre) is an amazing woman and her positivity continues to inspire me … 

Misconceptions are something that teachers are very used to dealing with, in fact, we would be unsuccessful if we didn’t deal with them.

The decimal point moves…

If x = 2 then 4x = 42…

2/3 + 2/5 = 4/8…

But… we are constantly trying to chip away at the biggest misconception of all, the belief broadcast far and wide by the media and the government that we are rubbish at our jobs.

As teachers in general, the Finns were held up as shining lights for us to be in awe of. As maths teachers, we’ve been told that we’re not teaching right, and we should emulate the methods of the teachers in Shanghai. Teachers already in the post are being undermined by the idea that they must be retrained or that the “first class graduates” being recruited, either by financial reward or by evangelical mission statements, are a cut above the rest.

I am frustrated that I don’t know how to deal with this. I can shout as loud as possible that I love my job and that I’m good at it, but why should I have to?

I remember a conversation I had with a Canadian colleague during my NQT year. She mentioned that teachers in the Yukon had an allowance for shoes, because it was accepted how much time they spent on their feet in the classroom.

I find myself thinking that wouldn’t it be marvellous if teachers in this country were appreciated and recognised for what they provide? Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we were heralded as members of an outstanding profession, and our opinions valued?

A ray of hope shone when the notion of Maths Hubs was introduced. I was excited that maths teachers all over the country would be sharing and collaborating, learning and enhancing their practice through mutual appreciation. The light that shone has dimmed. Instead of collaboration, what I’ve seen is that the hubs seem to be disseminating ideas from China. Again, I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach that the “powers that be” do not believe in what we do here.

So here I am. Little El Timbre. Shouting as loud as I can. I LOVE MY JOB! I don’t care what is thrown at me by successive Ministries and watchdogs. I don’t care what the comments section in my local paper says whenever a teaching story is published. I don’t care about the knee jerk initiatives which try to tell me how to teach. I LOVE MY JOB!

Do you know why?

Because of the students. Because of that look on a face when they “get” something. Because teaching is the best job in the world.

2014-12-21T00:41:08+00:00December 21st, 2014|Blog|

One Comment

  1. Jon Treby December 21, 2014 at 9:03 am

    in response to your last blog:


    The best teachers are the ones who know what they are doing (its doing right by the students), do it day in day out, collaborate effectively (in whatever way that is) and are the best to work with. I can name many like this who also juggle their daily lives, family etc. There is NOT a one size fits all and tbh who cares what other countries are doing?

    I went on an SSAT course a few years ago and a rep from Finland was their (equivalent of an ex head teacher who had worked in local authority). He explained the wonderful finnish system that does work very well and breed success. After 30 mins of this we had a Q&A and I asked him directly: “Is there any aspect of your system that we can apply to the UK” – answer: “No”. At least he was honest! There system is integrated with health / social services etc so would not work for us.

    Stick to what you know. We all know in our hearts that we are doing a great job – brought home to me this week when leaving one school for another. The cards and letters from students sum it up. Keep working hard guys, you are all definitely worth it!

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