It's Ranting Teacher's 5th birthday!
Five years ago, when the word “blogging” was just a glint in the future pages of my own personal dictionary, and a rudimentary knowledge of html and clip-art-nicking was enough to get me by, I set up my Ranting Teacher website. I did it because writing, however shoddy its outcome, has always been therapeutic to me, and I felt like I needed some therapy after a day at the chalkface, as it was then.
But it wasn’t just for me to feel better after thumping away at my keyboard. I also felt that somehow people should really know what it’s like to work in a school. Now not all schools are like mine. Some are mismanaged to far greater degrees than mine. Many are full of much worse behaviour and kids from far more disadvantaged backgrounds than where I work right now. But anybody who has worked in a few schools will know how different they can each be, and yet the same themes crop up again and again.
In the past five years, blogs have come and blogs have gone. Hell, we even know what “blogging” means now. I’ve enjoyed reading a number of teaching blogs, some now sadly neglected or closed; they have made me laugh, despair, and empathise. Only recently I was surprised to come across one of my classes who appear to be leaping across the space-time continuum in order to be taught by a fellow blogger, Old Andrew.
In this fifth year of my blog’s existence, I finally caught up with all these new-fangled ways and joined a blogging site proper, whilst my old html efforts remain suspended in hyperspace. So I thought I would take this opportunity to look back over what on earth I was whinging about this time five years ago, in the first of five entries today to mark the occasion…
PAY was just about the first issue I wrote about. Some might call it a case of sour grapes, and they could well be right, but I was annoyed that I had missed out on the metallic shimmers of golden handshakes and hellos and handcuffs, and was instead paying the Student Loans Company what seemed like an enormous amount of my meagre wages each month for the privilege of having trained for servitude in the public sector.
So what’s changed in those five years? Well, the loans are finally paid off. But pay is still a contentious issue: are we about to slip-slide into a recession? How much higher can fuel costs go, and for how much longer can I actually afford to keep my car on the road? And will the teaching union strikes actually take place in just under two weeks’ time? Teaching pay will increase just 2.45% and yet inflation is 4.1%. My conditions of work, like almost every other teacher’s, appear to be getting worse, and yet my disposable income is less than it was a year ago, but more than it was five years ago when I languished much further down the payscale. I guess we’ll soon find out if the strikes (a) happen and (b) work! Here's hoping...