Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Weeding out the chaff

In the news recently: Remove bad teachers, says advisor.

The unions replied that teachers are being trained even more thoroughly these days. I’ve no doubts about that. Gone, thankfully, are the days when the trainee teacher was thrown into a classroom with barely enough time to smooth down his tie/her cardigan before being expected to deliver a term's worth of lessons with no further supervision. These days it's all forms-in-triplicate and boxes to tick off to check that they have scowled for the required number of minutes each lesson.

But thinking personally, yes there are teachers I know who shouldn’t be in the job. I wouldn’t want to be the boss. If I was in charge, I’d have to do whatever I could to get rid of them. It’s not that they aren’t caring people who try their best, it’s just that most of those I’m thinking of probably came into the job before there was the rigorous training of today. They were the lot who were shoved into a classroom, the door shut behind them, and told to get on with it. Not an ideal way to learn about the many facets of teaching. They may have had training since, but they don’t grasp anything more up-to-date than the invention of the calculator.

We recently had a little inspection, and it was clear that some of the teachers are clueless as to what inspectors want to see. Not that inspectors necessarily want to see what we all do, day in and day out, but the fact was that these teachers couldn’t even raise their game for a few lessons.

But it’s not just older teachers who aren’t letting the kids learn well. Some of the student teachers we’ve had pass through in the past few years should never have even passed A-levels, let alone been accepted onto PGCE courses. They may have the best intentions in the world, but they come in with a scarily lacking knowledge base, and basic skills that need to go way back to basics. By the end of the year a couple of them were still incapable of organising themselves, let alone a classroom, but there were no majorly outstanding failings to stop them gaining their PGCEs and going off to show future generations the wrong way to write a sentence.

No comments: