Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Washed up

Today I am mostly feeling washed up. Why? Well, on our staffroom noticeboard is a bright and breezy call-out for a new initiative. It's extra training for those who want to develop managerial skills by attending all kinds of fun days out of school scoffing hotel buffet lunches and listening to talks on current issues in education. I'm sure there must be a downside too, but as I had just been propelled into the staffroom by the pure hot air expelled by the over-boisterousness of cocky teenagers, sitting around in an air-conditioned seminar room looked like an easy option. So I peered closer for details.

And then I saw it was only available to those who had been teaching for fewer than a certain number of years. And I have been teaching for more than that. So bright and breezy initiatives aimed at go-getters are only for those who are not yet washed up and past it, those like me who haven't been bothered with management bollocks to date because they haven't yet been worn out by classroom teaching and haven't looked for a cushy escape yet.

Is there a critical moment when a classroom teacher who actually enjoys teaching kids is deemed to have failed to hatch because they have, up to that moment, shown no desire to leave the classroom for more paperwork? Did a group of "experts" sit around and say: nope, once you've served your x amount of years without promotion and progression then you're a has-been, and you're never going to make it? I don't like to be written off like this!

But it did make me think: how is this equal opportunities? What about women who have notched up their years but it has been punctuated by pregnant pauses and subsequent maternity leaves? What about people who were waiting until their own children were in nursery or school and so could dedicate more time to their career? Or those who have moved between several schools for whatever reason, piling up valuable experience with no previous desire to aim for management?

And what about those of us after the free sandwiches and mini quiches instead of crisp warppers on the classroom floor? It's just so unfair.

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