We’re teachers not Demigods

I’m tired of teacher bashing. As far as I can see we self loathe ourselves enough without others having to do it for us.

Bennett’s criticism of posters, group work, DVDs and role play in a recent tabloid article has won hands down this Easter for irking me.

It was easy pickings journalism. Adding stereotype to anecdote to take another swipe at the beleaguered teacher. This was no better than OFSTED grading my lessons, no less frustrating than having Gove call me an enemy of promise. Yet again teachers were being judged on their classroom practice.

Criticising posters particularly smacks of perfectionism – this is similar to the perfect parenting fetish. ‘Don’t use forward facing buggies your child will have speech difficulties’, ‘dummies will ruin your child’s teeth’ and ‘never sleep with your child, it’s unhealthy for their emotional resilience’. These judgments are there to make us feel guilty, no wonder we all feel crap especially if we’re parents and teachers.

Society bombards us with images of perfect parents and the media expect similar perfection in teachers. Not only do we have to get our children to learn efficiently every second of the day, we have to do it while looking amazing and rocking a BMI within the average range.

The most damaging issue I see in schools is having to use supply teachers. Drafted in for long term sickness, usually linked to teachers becoming stressed and exhausted from having worked too damned hard and having been set up with unrealistic expectations.

Teachers need to pace themselves, allow time for marking and slots where they’re not continually teaching from the front. 

Consistently mediocre should be the new excellence – anyone who thinks teaching is like Dead Poets’ Society is part of this fake idealism. Students need a teacher who is present, consistent, knows her subject, can engage students to learn it and ensure progress is made: that’s it. We all do this differently. 

Of course be inspirational if we want to be but not every lesson – spread our  brilliance out evenly and give ourselves a break. We’re teachers not demigods.

Image from ActiveApparel 

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