It’s not unusual to hear about the amount of hours teachers are working or the recruitment crisis . These issues have been going on so long that they’ve become what some might say ‘old news’ - we know that teaching is in a crisis but nothing seems to be changing, which is why it was a surprise to see two stories last week that made headlines with regards to teaching that really resonated with people, not just within the industry, but far wider.
The first was the Metro headline which highlighted just how severe teachers workloads were. In order to counteract the excessive demand for admin and paperwork that needs to be done, which includes grading and lesson planning, teachers are choosing to work part time so they can keep up with everything required of them. The result? Slashing their pay by thousands (read more about what our CEO thinks on this topic here).
The second was Natalie Scott’s TED Talk at TedxNorwichEd where she gave a personal account of the real life struggles she faced as a teacher that led her to leave her teaching post in the UK due to the stress she was put under to teach in a refugee camp in Dunkirk.
Both these stories impacted not only with us, but with thousands. The reason being because it truly shows just how difficult it is to be a teacher, but also the passion that those who teach have, how dedicated they are to their profession. It takes a certain quality to be a teacher, to hold the responsibility of educating the future generation, it is after all their calling, but in the current circumstances, we are driving people away from their vocation.
We are fortunate now, that we have those teachers who are so dedicated that they will, like these stories have proven, make sacrifices that allow them to continue doing what they were meant to do - be that reduce their salary, take their teaching outside of the UK, or in our case, create a solution that helps to solve some of these issues. But, if all our teachers follow suit, we will eventually end up without the teachers that inspire students to achieve and help them to unlock their full potential - which will impact on our future.
It is times like this when our voices need to be heard, and one way in which we can achieve this is by coming together. We’ve seen aspects of this already happening, the fact that Natalie shared her story on a public scale is helping to make us aware of both the negative impact our schooling system has on teaching, but also just how valuable teachers are. Also, the forming of the new super union which will represent 450,000 school-staff, establishing a union that will be a force to be reckoned with.
We, as educators and people in the industry, know how hard it is to be a teacher and the pressures they face, and will continue to voice our concerns surrounding the current teaching crisis. If enough of us come together and make those aware of the state of education today, we will have to be listened to.