Choose teaching – be a teacher

‘It isn’t what you say that defines you but what you do’

These are the wise words of Batman that every aspirational teacher should know.

Teaching is a popular profession for many graduates. Last year 16, 845 people completed a secondary PGCE. The number of graduates completing PGCE’s has steadily risen over the last few years. It is a role that people find exciting, challenging and extremely stimulating. It is a profession where we are able to move people forward in their aspirations and assist their learning.

Unfortunately, I was sad to read earlier this year that the number of teacher training places at universities and colleges is to be cut by one fifth. The Coalition wants more teachers to learn their skills on the job in schools rather than in training colleges. Now I agree that we should have more on the job training – it’s where I learnt my skills and it was where I did most of my learning– but fewer teachers and training opportunities? Universities and teaching colleges offer fantastic teaching expertise and facilities that should be further funded. This maybe in response to subject demand but I am sure we will need teachers in the future and these cuts maybe putting off hundreds of potential brilliant teachers.

Nicholas Hargreaves of Radipole School, Weymouth says, ‘teaching is a wonderful career choice for anyone. From a young age several teachers and friends helped and encouraged me to aspire to become a teacher. To provide young minds with the knowledge, skills and passion to take control of their lives and become the experts of tomorrow. Personally it has given me the chance to inspire young people with my knowledge and expertise. Working with a group of like-minded teachers and young people is extremely inspirational. It is a role I have always been determined to succeed in and work hard for.’

The role teachers’ play in their local community is also central to a student’s development. Schools’ and communities must work collaboratively together for an area to benefit. Economic investment is a necessity with schools. Schools are the training ground for our future generations and they need to be at the forefront of technology for our young learners with the very best facilities for them to achieve their potential. The local community and schools’ must be incorporated into working together to create an ethos of self belief and to achieving their personal best. The community must be involved in their local schools creating community centres, so local people can benefit from the facilities and technology a school has. A community that sees the benefit of an education can help generate our leaders of tomorrow but they must work in partnership with the local schools. We as teachers are the facilitator of this role and can help enrich a wide variety of lives in the process. Working with the local community to enhance the school ethos and help an area develop.

Russell Wait, Curriculum Leader of Global Studies at Cove School, Hampshire; ‘I was inspired by my secondary school Headteacher who encouraged me from the tender age of 12 to reach my aspirations and goals. I find that teaching is an ever-changing occupation that keeps you on your toes. To teach the future generation of Britain with a passionate voice can create change and can only be a benefit for the country’.

Many professionals from industry are turning to a career in teaching because of the many benefits the role brings. They bring with them a vast range of experiences from industry that can only enhance the profession. Experience from outside the classroom and shared with the students is vital. Young people do need to have role models and even though they sometimes might not want to admit it, teachers are a very important one. It is very clear that many people want to train as teachers but cannot afford to take a whole year off for training. With the recent credit crisis it is understandable, but it does show that people do want to be teachers.

With this in mind, young people choosing to become a teacher may not get a job at the end of their training. If the government get their way we will all be working till at least sixty-eight – where is the opportunity for the young, fresh and talented teachers? We need teachers, inspirational teachers with new ideas and outlooks. Choose teaching – be a teacher!

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102 thoughts on “Choose teaching – be a teacher

  1. Teaching is a noble profession, but it also is one that is terribly, tragically, critically UNDERPAID.

    Until we as a society value the role of teachers more — through at-home support, incentives and better salary — I’m afraid the decline in numbers will only continue.

    • I have often wanted to be a teacher but decided against it.
      It wasn’t the pay that discouraged me.

      The thing that I think puts off the most “idealistic” from becoming teachers is that there is so much restriction on teachers nowadays.

      I will give an example. In my school we had a teacher who unlike all the others actually taught interesting facts about his subject (physics) rather than drearily talking about “what will be on the exam” and “exam technique” and so on. He was fired.

      Teaching today is nothing more than training people to pass exams. At least in the UK it is. There is no opportunity to teach useful or interesting information, to impart culture, to encourage thought, to develop skills and abilities. It is all geared to exams, passing exams and making sure that the school, the county and finally the British government looks good by making the exam results and statistics shine.

      How does meeting government targets by wasting the valuable time of a generation make anyone feel inspired to work as a teacher?

      That is a far more serious problem than money. Someone who cares can overlook the money, but they’re never going to overlook the fact that they will be straightjacketed from doing a valuable job by the rules and regulations around it.

  2. Unfortunately, austerity is the watchword in many countries this year, and most public services are targets. However, a decent education for all children should be at the top of public service priority lists, and that means having good teachers. It is terrible for anyone to be denied an education because of poverty, but that is the direction much of the world is moving.

  3. Great post. Teacher is one of the most important & challenging profession. And with out pure dedication and interest no person can be good at this profession. Because a teacher is a person, who has to deal with humans rather than machines. Let’s hope more and more talented young people would enter this profession, who have enough knowledge in them, and who know the technique and who has the interest to share that knowledge with others.

  4. Hi Mike, great post.

    I’ve always thought that the adage ‘Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.’ is incredibly unfair to teachers, who get enough bad press as it is. Teachers do a really hard job, and the majority do well enough considering the conditions and their treatment, not necessarily by pupils but by the media and politicians.

    It’s a real shame that colleges and universities are cutting teaching places, when we can always use more teachers and they actually represent incredible value for money. If we think in purely economic terms, as does the coalition, which sees things like nurses, education and theatre in terms of the profit margins, teachers get paid ostensibly a good wage but probably far less than they deserve, but end up educating an entire workforce, upon which the economy is built.

    My mum’s a teacher, and she’s rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. She’s one of my greatest role models, and shows that being a teacher is not necessarily a case of being slightly defective at one’s chosen career, but is in fact a career itself worth being proud of. After all, those that can teach, do.

  5. I’m not a teacher by chosen profession, although, maybe I should have
    been. I love to teach and do so, as I am afforded the oppurtunity, be it surfing, playing music or painting.
    In life you get back by giving.
    My life was forever changed by my fourth grade geography teacher who evacuated Cuba. I’m sure her influence ignited my love of history and travelling.
    I enjoyed, Choose Teaching.
    Congratulations!

  6. I taught high school physics and chemistry for seven years and I liked it. I miss the teaching, I do not miss all the paperwork and idiot administrators and in-house politics and sports-favoritism that went with it.

    If I could just go back and TEACH I would do it in a shot. The kids are great. But done right teaching is the hardest job in the world. Literally. The difficulty becomes exponential when you have to put up with lazy parents who don’t care and administrators who get in the way of process.

    Having said all that I like your post and agree with it. Teaching is a superb career. You will rarely do anything else in your life more worthwhile. But teachers must learn to enter the profession with open eyes, not with rose-colored glasses.

  7. I liked how at the beginning a batman quote was incorporated into the information, because its relatable, and catches my attention.

  8. I don’t know how the British system works, but here in Sweden I had to study 5 and a half year to become a teacher (plus one year of teaching) before getting my license. Yet they pay us peanuts.
    Always wanted to be a teacher and the students/pupils make it worthwhile but somehow the act of teaching has diminished as we (In Sweden) have to do tons of administration tasks instead of spending time on planning and preparing our classes.

    I still love my job though 🙂

      • In some countries, like South Korea, teachers are actually highly respected as pillars of the community and hope for the future.
        And in Switzerland (not to be confused with Sweden) teachers actually have high salaries.

        As I understand it in the US you also run quite a risk of actually being gunned down from time to time. We’ve been spared from that even though some student actually killed their old teacher some time not long ago.

        Normally though the students/pupils are the good part of this job. Seeing them at the moment they realize they know stuff is amazing.

        Hope you can survive on the shells 😉

  9. Its good to see someone voicing these kinds of concerns. I’m really worried that teaching as a whole is going to face a massive recruitment problem in the next decade. Yes, PGCE applications have been rising (largely due to the perceived ‘security’ that a teaching job offers in times of economic crisis), but with the attacks on pensions, funding cuts, increasing beaurocratic and political interference, workload pressures and the constant scrutiny of the job, the number of people leaving teaching after only a few short years is huge – and will rise once the economy picks up. Our young people are soon to face a teaching drought of the proportion that is truly frightening.

    • Nice post. I left a business career, went back to school, got certified, and now teach. Unfortunately, as the uphillstruggle pointed out, teachers are under attack BIG time in many states. Here in MI it is downright maddening and insulting how the governor and his cronies have basically taken most rights and tenure protection from public school teachers.

      And the fact that so many people think teachers have it made and such an easy job. NOT! It’s a very strenuous job and you’ve got to love it to keep going. Still I worry about having a job next year.

      Sadly, in the current climate of teacher bashing, I don’t know if I would recommend the profession. And that’s very sad.

      • I hate to agree with your last paragraph tar-buns, but I do. Now is NOT the time to get into teaching, unless you really do worship the testing gods and have the ability to take the blame for all society’s ills. sigh. But, the good days make it worth it.

  10. great blog! my sister graduated this past summer with an elementary education degree, and has been subbing and waitressing waiting on a position to open up in the area. i passed this on to her and i’m sure she’ll dig it!

  11. I think about teaching sometimes it is very iimportant and i do like to help others. This post was great! It offered me some incite about the profession!

  12. Fantastic post! It reminds me of all the teachers I had who used to be lawyers and found educating much more fulfilling.I don’t think you have to worry about there being less teacher though. Many young people today have this feeling that it’s up to them to save the world. We all can’t become billionaires and start donating our money to end world hunger but we can start educating the next generation to be better and have higher goals. Many people feel that in order to save the world, you have to start at home. If there are less teachers because of the smaller windows of opportunity, I’m sure it will only be the ones who just wanted summer off and never really wanted to teach any way.

    I just wanted to post a link to Taylor Mali’s (former English teacher turned slam poet) What Teachers Make. It’s a wonderful performance and poem.

  13. The American public education system is more or less a joke. They teach how to take tests – not how to learn. I began studying secondary social studies education in college and soon realized what pedagogical bs it all was. Sad that the only way to teach what I want – what matters – is to aim for the college level, but real experience and learning is the only way to make you an expert worthy to teach youth of any sort.

  14. I really enjoyed your blog. I just started teaching English here in South Korea and have found that I really have a passion for it. I never considered it as a career before this, but I realize if I really want to be happy doing what I do, it must involve teaching.

    I agree with you that it is difficult to find a “good” place to teach these days, whether due to low pay or low selection of jobs, but I have always believed that where there is a will, there is a way. Thank you for your words.

  15. I don’t think teaching is a suitable career choice for everyone. It requires dedication, infinite patience and great versatility given the fact a large part of the education process is being replaced by information technology. I’m not saying that teachers can be totally replaced by the internet, but it is a growing challenge for teachers to find their niche in this rapidly advancing world. That said, teachers have one of the toughest jobs ever, and although I don’t like every single one of my teachers, I have great respect for all of them.

    This is a great post, got me thinking how important a role teachers played in my life. 🙂

  16. This is a great post. Thanks.

    I always wanted to be a teacher but my need to be seen as ‘smart’ and my parents’ need for me to be considered ‘prestigious’ influenced my decision to study law and politics. I am now reasonably happy in my job but I always have wondered whether I would find teaching more fulfilling.

    I found this post inspiring. Keep them coming!

  17. i was working as an Account Executive in graphic design house for almost 6 years. now i choose to work as an English teacher even i don’t have any majority in teaching study. it is completely different feel somehow.

    i used to be a very hectic and revenue minded person, driven by lunatic deadline target all the time.
    i can say that teaching is therapy also for my soul and mind.
    it always big pleasure to have my student improved and running faster than before.

    for me, teaching also learning in other hand.

    i make my own system and free to bring any positive materials into the class. my student are at range of 18-30 years old, not easy but i really enjoy all of the learning process.

    now i really know, how important the teacher is.
    i never pay respect to mine at high school. i often think that their job is very easy. as the time goes by, i understand that i can be like now is because of their ‘easy’ job 🙂

    never can get enough to thank them after all.

  18. I did, and I couldn’t agree more with all the things that you said there. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to share your knowledge to teach the younger minds. I love my job as a teacher!!!

  19. This is a really great post everyone should read. I’m still a teenager and is still a student. As a student, I know we all need teachers; the GOOD ones, trained ones, to be our role models, to show us how we should ‘live’ and ‘survive’. People need to take serious consideration in teaching.. because we do need them!
    thanks for writing this 🙂

  20. I have taught for 20 years, and I agree that young, fresh, idea people are the key. Not only do we need their enthusiasm, but we also need reform, so that rural schools (like the one where I teach) aren’t lacking in the arts.

    Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (sometimes called the “Nickleby Act”), rural schools have lost art, band, choir, and tech teachers–yes, even the technology classes have been cut–and those classes will no longer be offered in our rural schools.

    Some of the brightest young teachers I’ve worked with since the passage of NCLB have quit teaching and gone into other fields. Why? Because it’s so frustrating to watch students lose the “fun” classes while doubling-up their math and English courses. Sadly, some of those talented young educators were our art, band, choir, and tech teachers–who were never replaced when they quit teaching (because of the NCLB Act and its consequences).

    If you don’t understand how the NCLB Act has adversely affected the education system, just look at Wikipedia’s article about it. Read thoroughly and carefully through the article, and you’ll start to understand.

    Like you, Mike, I really, really want to see creative young people take up teaching as a profession, but until reform happens, I don’t see it coming my way. The more creative a teacher is, the less likely they are to STAY in teaching, until we change the NCLB policies.

    Incidentally, I’m not just saying this as a concerned teacher; I’m a parent too. My kids can’t take art, choir, or tech next year. Why not? Those teaching positions are being cut.

  21. Teaching really is a critical career. The problem we’ve had in Kuwait is that when young adults don’t know what else, and are at a total loss… they turn to teaching! They’re not passionate about it which of course can now be seen by observing their students.

  22. First of all, any blog about teaching that starts with a quote from Batman is alright in my book.

    Second, in the part of the USA where I am from there are far more people with teaching certifications than there are teaching jobs available. Maybe some of us should pack up our bags and move over there to where there is a shortage.

  23. Teaching is not for everyone. As some of the commenters above have said, it can be extremely challenging, and the pay can be poor. Not everyone has the temperament to do it well, and a lot of teachers burn out quickly and leave the job in short order. It is a wonderful profession if you enjoy the challenge, but I wouldn’t advise it for everybody!

  24. It’s not only the job market that puts people off teaching. The hours are tough, the curriculum can be inflexible and the growing amount of paperwork, targets and exams means it’s not only the kids who are becoming disillusioned within the school system.

    Teachers are invaluable and should be given more freedom to inspire their pupils.

  25. I have lucked out because my son has landed in two great public schools. In both schools I have seen a lot of parent/teacher communication and the labs that are in the classes are far better than when I was in school. Sure you find an occasional teacher that I am not fond of but it is few and far between and everyone works with at least one dud. So I greatly appreciate the teachers my son is involved with.

    In politics, it seems everyone wants the golden egg which is to have an educated workforce and high paying jobs but they do not want to invest into a means to get there. Teachers of course are the delivery system and without them you will only fail.

    I also think it is sad what our media focuses on. Maybe if news stories were about the scientists and advances in our world instead of about which celebrity is getting divorced or having an affair; our focus would change to what is really important. Education and it’s rewards.

  26. Teaching is a great way to learn, from each of my students i learn something new about my personal character along with how i can be that much better at my teaching skills. We are unappreciated in many cases but we always gain even when unacknowledged, unthanked, unrecognized, taken for granted.

  27. Teaching in the UK is nothing short of prostitution. A hideous profession in which teachers are abused not just by students but bad managers and politicians. There are numerous blogs and books devoted to this abuse written by teaching staff at various levels.

    If you teach in a private school, a selective school or one of the few that happen to be in very middle class enclaves, then the job is without doubt rewarding but teaching in a place like Clacton, Jaywick (one of the UK’s poorest areas), or Peckham and the experience is very different.

    On my first day as a new teacher I was spat at by a student and subsequently the Head Teacher asked to see my lesson plan. I’ve been assaulted by students, parents and called every name you can imagine. Not once in these abuses was I apologised to or the child suspended. I’ve seen excellent teachers destroyed by a system that tolerates scum behaviour and I’ve taught decent students whose experience in the class room has been terrorized by the scum element. I’ve even taught in schools where the Head made it quite clear that any behavioural problems in the class were rooted in poor teaching. I should add, I’ve probably taught in 20 schools in various capacities.

    I currently teach in South Korea after deciding I could no longer teach in a country that is not just predominantly anti-intellectual, but where students are molly-coddled with a code of ethics and a curriculum the product of politics and the PC brigade. In six years experience in Korea, I have not once been been subject to rudeness or verbal aggression!

    Teaching is a wonderful profession but years of apathy by British teachers has allowed education to be undermined by politics and the PC agenda. Indeed, the current rotten state of British education has been facilitated by ‘teachers.’

    Though the Korean system has its faults, teachers and education are highly respected and children, much better students. Students know exactly where they stand and in the classroom a disruptive element would be neither tolerated by staff, fellow students or parents. British kids are given immense powers the moment they walk onto a school’s premises and once again this power has been facilitated by staff collaborating with the corporate image encouraged by management and politicians as well as by the sway of political correctness. In Korea, containing unruly kids in the classroom, a policy I have have been subjected to in several British schools, does not exist. In addition to being able to effectively discipline students I am also able to hug them or be physical without accusations of paedophilia. Ironically, the most policed members of British society, and those treated with the most suspicion by students and the public, are teachers. And outside school, when Korean kids are unruly or errant, it is perfectly acceptable to challenge them without fear of reprisals by protective parents. Sadly, Koreans now perceive many western teachers as potential sexual predators and druggies or alcoholics and as a result all foreign teachers in Korea are now vigorously screened.

    Britain, and probably the USA, are not nice places to teach, unless you’re lucky! In the UK, celebrities such as Kate Moss, or the deceased Amy Winehouse, who misuse drugs and alcohol etc, simply go on to make even more money and apart from serving as atrocious role models, their behaviour is largely unchallenged. In Korea, a celebrity who misuses alcohol or drugs is censored and their career terminated. And I doubt there are many Korean celebrities, including their football players, who have not had a university education in a ‘real,’ as opposed ‘Mickey Mouse’ subject. Meanwhile, in the UK we get the typical uneducated football players and dimwits the likes of Jane Goody, the product of 11 years British education, who then become national heroes.

    I respect and admire the excellent teachers who are largely unpaid and unrecognized, but as a profession, British teachers have helped instigate their own mistrust, the growth of anti-intellectualism, the supremacy of scum attitudes and behaviour, the rise of Mickey Mouse subjects, the parity between truly challenging courses and ones such as ‘sports studies and broadly, have subjected themselves with devotion and loyalty to the will of the corporate image. Worse, they have failed the decent students who sit in terror in many classrooms. In Britain, where the ‘Billy Elliot’ syndrome is rife, it is not cool to be clever, it is not cool to read books and effort and endeavor are leveled so as not to make the lazy and indolent feel bad. (My former University no longer publishes graduations results in order of merit).

    And most pernicious, is the enormous divide that separates young people not just from other young people, but adults. Our education system has been used to imbue in youngsters the notion, the fear that all adults and especially teachers, are potential predators and not to be trusted. In Britain, a relationship with students that extends beyond the classroom is taboo. Indeed, I even feel compelled to qualify what I mean by ‘relationship’ so as to avoid being misunderstood. Meanwhile, in Korea kids will visit my house, meet me for a coffee and want to meet me years after I have taught them.

    It is only when you live and teach for a relatively long period of time in culture such as Korea, that you begin to see how damaged and rotten our society is and how clinical and void of human warmth the relationship is between young people and their teachers. While you are an example of a diligent and caring teacher, as a professional I feel by our apathy we have failed both young people and society and the idea of returning to teach in heartless, inhuman and hostile environment, fills me with dread.

  28. I originally went to school to become a French teacher and dropped out of the “teaching” major my first semester. I want to kick myself every time I think about it. Teaching, in my opinion, should be an honored job–I always looked up to my teachers in elementary/high school (who were also incidentally paid $60,000+ at a public school)–and hope one day to teach a class, as it is such a reward to help someone learn something new!

  29. It remimds me of a teacher I had in high school he was always quoting important people like batman or superman, I think he quoted once He-Man. Awesome post.

  30. I am a teacher currently and I teach English…My inspiration was my English teacher at junior high who would transport us to those beautiful locations in thosee stories.I fully agree with you…Thanks.

  31. I am a teacher currently and I teach English…My inspiration was my English teacher at junior high who would transport us to those beautiful locations in those stories.I fully agree with you…Thanks.

  32. I wanted to be a teacher for a long time and I have done some teaching albeit not in school (Sunday school, etc.) It is rightly consideration a vocation, because a good teacher doesn’t just deliver facts, he/she must also be part of how a young person forms their own consciousness. I look back on my years in school and there were the good, the bad and the ugly. I should say, the good, the indifferent, and the bad to be more precise. The good and the bad still linger in my memory 30 years on.

    Best Regards,
    James LaForest
    http://dayreturn.wordpress.com/

  33. I think nothing could highlight the current government’s contempt for teachers (and other public sector workers) more than their recent sneering threats over the strikes on 30th. They seem to attach little value to the difficult job we do and whether or not you agreed with the industrial action, their attitude was appalling.

  34. those who can do, those who can’t teach. You get crap money because you have so many holidays and short days. You’re also responsible for the state of youth today – it’s embarrassing how uneducated teenagers are today and it’s your fault. The entire system of education is out-dated and heavily flawed. It was designed to push out thousands of mill workers and the format has never been changed. It needs to be and teachers need to be improved too. Most are useless.

    As for geography in education – if it was actual geography it may be useful but I know nobody who found the “Movements of glaciers” to be useful in any way, ever, since leaving school. Most of geography is not geography, more like geology. Waste of time.

  35. Thanks, you have just provided me with inspiration for my next post – a celebration of the value of teaching and of good teachers.

    The key to the joy in it is teaching those who want to learn, and I consider myself fortunate to have worked in an extremely varied range of Adult Ed contexts during my career. I have taught brickies, gas fitters, motor mechanics, gravediggers, civil service clerical English students, Drama students, Confidentiality to residential social workers, ‘A” English in England and Higher English in Scotland – but the most fun I ever had was teaching astrology classes as a freelance where I could set my own syllabus and teach whoever I liked in whatever way I chose.

    Our current education system (and I speak as a participant currently since I am at university again) seems to me to be far too bureaucratic and rules-oriented. This is going a long way to crush the joy and the creativity out of the whole process for pupils, students and teachers.

  36. Our country makes it so clear that they undervalue education and teachers. It is no wonder that young people are choosing other professions these days. After 6 years in the corporate world, I just finished my masters in elementary education. I’m still looking for a job but I can’t wait to get out there and teach. They may underpay me and people may assume my job is easy because I get summers off, but no one has the power to take away the joy and fulfillment that teaching brings me. Great post, thank you!

  37. I’m choosing teaching beginning in Jan. 2012. I never thought of it as a path I’d want to travel but in the last few months I’ve been compelled to get in front of a class. Thank you for this post!

  38. Mark I find your blog insightful and motivating for people to pursue teaching and for teachers present to continue to form and bring the world to their students.
    I’ve been an educator in wind and water sports from many years, and at the core of what I do is inspire the young to continue develop their passions in sailing, academically and in life.
    Thank you for you passion to teaching and education.

  39. I, too, started as a teacher in Brazil (where salaries are even worse than in the US or Europe) and left – but not really – I became a Language Coach, Instructor, Tutor. Here in the US, I’d love to do the same. Being a teacher was the most satisfying profession I’ve had – and I ADORE working with children. My kids insist that I should pursue it here, but I feel too old for that, now. There is a great energy in younger teachers and if some of them stay the course, wonderful! I do want, though, to have a more meaningful job (like teaching) – one in which I feel there is a real partnership and mutual respect (like I felt while teaching). Great post!

  40. I think much of what you say is interesting. Three years ago my daughter tried to get on the ladder to be a teacher. Had the right degree, all relevant experience to teach ‘Drama’. BUT she had a ‘D’ in Maths! She re-did her GCSE and got the required ‘C’ in Maths but by then the PGCE fees shot up” She would have made a fantasic teacher ( speaking as her mother who has benn teaching for 36 years). In the meanwhile a well paid job has taken presedence!!

  41. Motivating others is what I like about teaching. Once you have seen a person at their lowest point and then motivate them to do better and a year or few years later see how they improved. It’s inspiring, it definitely not only makes a difference in them, but in you. 1coffeehouse.wordpress.com

  42. When I was getting ready to start out in teaching fifteen years ago, I would have found this post truly inspirational. However, now I’m much more sceptical. In the fourteen and a half years I have been a qualifed teacher, I have seen the good and the bad in education, but education, as a whole, has deteriorated greatly in the past decade and a half.
    It is true that these days, the pupils have all the rights. I have been abused by pupils for just doing my job and all they get is a telling off and most often not even that. While me, when recently working as a supply teacher, I was not allowed back to a school because I raised my voice in a PE lesson. The problem is that teachers get no respect, from parents, the government and even pupils. Most pupils don’t want to aspire to intellectual jobs, more than one boy has said he wanted to be a drug dealer (and he was serious) while girls all think they’re going to be WAGS.
    Teaching is a great career if you can get into the right schools, but the education system as a whole needs a major overhaul.

  43. Thank you for your thoughtful, inspiring post. I have only been teaching for two years and like to think that I am quite idealistic but I wonder if I can be a teacher for the rest of my life? I agree that there needs to be an overhaul but one question I keep returning to is how do you fix the problems? I’m all for teachers being paid a higher salary, but that will not address the attitudes and culture surrounding education. So what do you think are some of the long and short term solutions?

  44. You hit the nail on the head with this statement: The Coalition wants more teachers to learn their skills on the job in schools rather than in training colleges. The coalition you are referring to is what works sometimes in the corporate world. Most charter schools are glomming on to hiring a yet untrained/underdeveloped teacher so they can ‘shape/mold’ etc. this person during their grad school and earning a teaching credential. Sadly, this process learns to burn out, high teacher turnover and loss of effectiveness in the classroom. KIPP and Aspire Public Schools (Ca) are notorious for providing ‘promising’ teachers with a grad school education taught by ‘leaders’ from these not for profit corporations. Mostly these teachers do not stay at these schools after completing their higher education. None of these non-profits, who have the data, wish to publish it and have honest discourse about what gives as they are convinced they will change the face of education by creating cookie cutter teachers. It is actually scarier than what you address in your article.

  45. I’ve recently begun trying to rally support for rural schools in Mauritania, a vast million-square kilometres of country on the Western edge of the Sahara with a population of just 3 million. In researching the issues faced by the Mauritanian education sector, shortage of trained teachers was at the top of the list, along with lack of basic infrastructure to support and develop schools.

    These issues are obviously pandemic. I hope your encouraging post will help attract more people to consider teaching as a career. Additionally, I hope everyone else can be encouraged to realize the immense value of education in all our lives, and to respect and appreciate educators for their contribution.

  46. Great post – thanks. I think we need reminded (and perhaps parents and society need reminded too) of the important job that we do as teachers 🙂

  47. I have wanted to teach kindergarten for a long time, and I’m currently working on an associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Though, the more I hear about the changes they are wanting to do to teachers. Like cut their pay more or base their pay on how many students pass I’m starting to get cold feet.

    http://jezerae.wordpress.com/

  48. A teacher shapes the future of the society. Lately teaching has become a competitive career & is losing its core. I must say though there are still some dedicated souls out there who are living up to the true spirit of this righteous profession.

  49. As a group of Language Schools based in London. We see all sorts of people come though our doors who are at various levels of skill and need varying levels of support from their teachers. As the teachers it requires a huge level of skill and discipline and you should be rewarded for it.

  50. I love this post! I can’t see myself doing anything but teaching. It is one of the hardest jobs, but yet, I go to work everyday feeling proud of what I do and the children I teach. It is a shame that teachers are not being given the professional credit that they deserve. The work we do changes the lives of our students if we do it right and doing it right takes so much time and commitment.
    I will spend my life doing this job and it will be a life well spent, I just know it.

  51. Excellent post.

    This in particular got me fired up and ready to ge back into the classroom tomorrow, “The role teachers’ play in their local community is also central to a student’s development. Schools’ and communities must work collaboratively together for an area to benefit. Economic investment is a necessity with schools. Schools are the training ground for our future generations and they need to be at the forefront of technology for our young learners with the very best facilities for them to achieve their potential. The local community and schools’ must be incorporated into working together to create an ethos of self belief and to achieving their personal best. “

  52. While facilities and technology can help to further the cause of teachers, they are not essential to a child’s education. The most essential aspect of this learning experience is the QUALITY of the teacher. If the teacher can successfully get the student to engage the material and then retain it, they have done better then most teachers are doing today.

    A recent study showed that a good teacher could cover 1.5 years of material, while a bad teacher covered .5 years (a 1 year difference in development of a child’s education!). This shows the importance of the quality of the teacher. If you have a great teacher combined with great facilities, innovative technologies, and a great support staff then the possibilities are endless. We must work to attract the best students to become teachers!

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