Blogging, that is. I never went away from supply teaching.
But something happened that made me think I needed to reappraise my position and ideas with regard to teaching and following educational policies.
I had just described a typically maddening day, when a friend asked “Why do you do it? You can’t stand the things you’re asked to do and you think half of it is pointless, so why do you do it? There must be something you like, or you’d walk. So what is it? Or is it just that things aren’t really as bad as you say?”
I was taken aback. I’m used to people saying that I complain about the way things are, and wondering why I don’t leave, but I realised that I’d never actually had someone ask what it was that kept me going. The last bit, slyly proposing that I might have exaggerated some of the more baffling procedures I’ve been instructed to follow, stopped me in my tracks.
Had I been exaggerating?
I knew in my eyes I hadn’t, but what of those of an impartial observer? Could I step back and look afresh at the current reality of teaching?
Over the intervening months I made lots of notes, but I didn’t write them up into posts. I decided to leave it until the end of my ‘experiment’ and see what I thought then. Would the value of hindsight add or detract from my initial observations? Would I find that comparing my observations from a number of schools would mean that they made more sense than if looked at individually?
I’m going to start writing those notes up now, reflecting and comparing policies, routines, statements (of missions, intent and otherwise), requests, demands, instructions and edicts – and I’m going to include both my impressions at the time and my latter thoughts on the matter.
I’ll go through my experiences of marking in various shades (quite apposite, as it turns out), starting every lesson to a prescribed formula, regulations regarding internal emails, rewards and sanctions, workload expectations, INSET activities, encounters with consultants and cover requirements.
The word ‘Ofsted’ may be mentioned a lot…