With baby booms and more and more teachers feeling full of the…I should be able to write ‘joys of summer’ to end that sentence but more so than ever, I can only complete any sentence asking how teachers are feeling with the words doom and gloom. How incredibly sad! (And now, my doom and gloom grows as I question whether or not I have used an exclamation correctly, according to government standards).
The very topic of this article creates its own vicious circle within education as it stands. Government increase pressure on staff and children whilst giving very little in return, this leads to teachers burning-out and feeling ill-equipped (both professionally and emotionally) to stand in front of enquiring little eyes every day. As a result, teachers leave the profession which means that jobs must be advertised but when these vacancies are not suitably filled children are forced into supersize classes and then staff are blamed when results aren’t good enough – so the only possibly quick fix is…to apply even more pressure thus beginning the cycle all over again whilst more and more children and staff across the nation suffer academically, mentally and emotionally.
At very most, the maximum class size I have ever taught has been thirty-one pupils and that was a Year 5 class. The smallest class was during teacher training, I taught a mixed Y1/2 class with 17 Year 1 children and 6 Year 2’s. Some might say the answer is an obvious one when asked – ‘which did you prefer?’ Actually it isn’t. Smaller class sizes of 17 are idyllic however if that class then becomes a mixed year group class because of the number of children per teacher then, in my opinion, no this isn’t preferable. But neither is the dread of having thirty plus children in a class either – not to mention to drama it adds to a teacher with OCD tendencies. Adding a whole other table to an already cramped classroom to accommodate one more child…it’s a logistical nightmare, unless of course you have the luxury of supersize classrooms to match the supersize classes?
Honestly, I think the only thing that should ever be supersized by choice…is a Burger King meal.
What needs to happen is that teachers are listened to and ultimately, heard. This then impacts on government planning and expectations. School life becomes manageable once more and again the profession is attractive for far more reasons than just the holidays, which in actual fact, just don’t cut it anymore. To have a job that ends after shift or at 5:30 is the stuff that some teachers can only dream of. And that, to me, is hugely disappointing. We want teachers who want to teach because they love teaching.
Find other ways to cut spending in our nation and spend time (which is priceless) getting to know teachers and what makes them tick – you’ll find that it really isn’t much. I saw a quote once which simply said:
‘Love is spelled T.I.M.E’ and that springs to mind here, Education is spelled L.I.S.T.E.N.