The state of our education system in England, as it stands, is a mess. Well, at least it is in my opinion. Having been part of the state system for the best part of a decade, I have seen amazing, outstanding teachers come into the profession only to last three to five years (if they really are glutton for punishment) before ‘escaping’ to move on to less stressful, more fulfilling roles – often outside of education completely. This is not isolated to the schools I’ve worked in. Anyone who follows education in the media will know that teacher recruitment and retention is a struggle, with many schools looking further afield to Canada, Ireland and the rest of Europe to entice teachers over to work in our schools.
But why is this so difficult for our government to get right? I’ve spoken to teachers around the globe who love their jobs, have a good work-life balance and therefore have the drive and passion which is recognised by students. Now, that’s not to say that no teachers in the UK experience this wonderful way of working, of course they do, but the worry is with how many excellent teachers are lost due to the constant battering they get with paperwork, exam result pressure and being held accountable for all their students do, whilst trying to inspire and teach our next generation. It’s too much and the rewards of the job get lost amongst the stresses, worries and around-the-clock working hours.
What does this mean for our students? Whilst we as teachers usually have the choice as to whether we will continue in our role, our students don’t.
And they deserve great teachers; great, consistent teachers who see them through a year, a Key Stage, a school life. But unfortunately, this all too often isn’t the case. Teachers go off with stress, or leave to move to pastures new, leaving their students with inconsistent teaching and learning.
I don’t suppose we’ll ever have any concrete evidence on the effect this has on the student and their final grades, but I’d be willing to bet it’s not positive.
I suppose one good thing is that many of these teachers don’t ever lose their passion for teaching so end up becoming tutors, often full-time tutors, benefiting students who need extra support outside the classroom. Every cloud…