After reading lots of comments and opinions of why teachers are striking I decided I would blog about it! It really grinds my gears when people who clearly haven’t read any information about why teachers are striking share their opinions. Fair enough, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, before sharing they could at least have the decency of doing a bit of research! Some of them blaming teachers for failing students, saying how teachers should pay for the childcare parents will have to pay for just because on the flip side they get fined for taking their child out of school when they shouldn’t.
I can see why they might have these opinions, but to me they are narrow minded and not seeing the bigger picture! Who is it that has made all these changes? That’s right, it’s the government. They are putting lots of changes forward, and teachers are striking for a number of reasons! Both personal and for the sake of the children too! They would only ever strike as a last resort!!
So let me share some of these with you.
Performance related pay and pensions. We are expected to pay even more into our pensions when in reality we are not guaranteed that money. A blog by an English teacher found here sums up this up here nicely. £43 billion more is paid into pensions than out of it. Performance related pay – I’m not entirely against this idea if it would actually work. It would in theory pay good teachers more. In many cases though I know it might also be an excuse for heads to save money. We are expected to get good results, and everyone is under pressure. Therefore the children are under more pressure. Instead of having more engaging, fun and inspiring lessons, there is often a time frame that teachers have to struggle to follow in order to get everything covered, so we can’t challenge them with outrageous learning ideas that will develop different sets of skills as often as teachers like.
In addition to this, some children receive an awful lot of help with their year 6 sats, through 1-1 tuition, lots and lots of prep. Students’ grades are predicted from these exam results. So if a student achieves a level 5 at primary school, then the data says they’ll achieve a grade A at GCSE. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it! Some of these children who get the extra ‘help’ at primary school are the ones who then struggle at GCSE level. In reality they aren’t an A grade student, and then through our teaching we are up against it straight away. Like us though, primary schools have targets to hit so who can blame them. It all comes back to the government and league tables. No matter how good or outstanding our teaching is, we can’t make the pupils do the work, we can’t do it for them! We have no control of what happens in their lives outside of school and how much they revise. There would be no leniency with this. In other words, if we don’t show 3 levels of progress then to the end of their GCSE we don’t go up the pay scale. So there would be some excellent and outstanding teachers who would continue to get paid the same for the rest of their career. Is this fair? No, not on the one judgement. On the flip side, there would be some teachers who cruise through, and manage to get their results somehow and get the pay rise. The so called ‘lazy ones’ who don’t work as hard as some teachers do. All schools have them unfortunately.
I would say at least 95% of teachers work their absolute socks off for their kids. Go above and beyond to ensure their pupils are engaged, enjoy their lessons and achieve. It’s not a 9-3:30 job, most teachers are in school at 8 until at least 5/6. Then marking and planning on top of that. Yes they get holidays, and goes what, they don’t switch off for 13 weeks. There’s always planning or marking to do. Anyone who is friends with, married to or a partner of, family of a teacher should know how hard, stressful and tiring it is.
It you have read this far then thank you for taking the time to get to know more about it. Now I am sure you wouldn’t want an unqualified teacher teaching your children. If I had children I know I wouldn’t want them doing it. It would be the same as someone building a house who isn’t a builder, or an unqualified nurse or doctor treating you. There is impact! Teachers are striking because they care about the future of education, they care about the future children! The government are going to drive lots of quality teachers out of the profession if these changes take effect. Like all teachers, I worked really hard to become a teacher, went through financial difficulty to get here, I finally deserve to have a good career in the field I wanted. Not to be driven out by a politician who clearly had a bad experience is school and has never taught a day in his life.