Thursday, 1 May 2008

How's it going?

That's what everyone keeps asking. And – so far – it seems as if it might be going well. There’s been a blitz on lessons - more than you could think a team of four could cover in a day – though I’ve not had a visit. (Given that I had about five or six last time they came, I’m not too bothered!) But on the very day our latest Ofsted starts, there’s a headline in the morning paper telling us that, next time around, they’ll be inspecting schools on teenage pregnancy rates, pupils' drug problems, criminal records and obesity levels. Time to go, I fear. I mean, what more can they possibly expect? We’re already meant to make our pupils vote in general elections, volunteer for work in the community, be nice to the elderly and rejoice in national diversity. No wonder literacy and numeracy targets sometimes go unmet – we’re all too busy doing something else. At heart, I’m still enthusiastic about teaching – on a good day, I enjoy the kids, the banter and enjoy imparting knowledge of my subject. But the rest – the endless high-speed carnage of initiatives, the micro-management of everything that happens every minute of the day in classrooms – has become too much. We're hectored by the government and then forced to tell the other teachers how to do their job. What kind of person wants to do that, really? Management they call it, but it's more than that - in teaching you are always telling someone to do something. But Ofsted now don’t want to see you teaching – they want evidence of pupils learning. But the Catch-22 is that the kids can’t do that if you haven’t taught them to! The independent learners are supposed to want to do it for themselves. But they've got to do what you want them to, or the buggers fail you (inadequate, it's called). We’ll see, later on today, whether they have or not.

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