From the archive: Give teachers a break

David McQueen /   June 13, 2013 at 8:32 PM 2,678 views


Before I fully got into working full time in education consultancy I was part of a band who would easily lament that teachers had it easy. Yes I had some great teachers in the past but I found it ever so easy to talk about the fact that they had long holidays, or whinged about classroom etiquette.

This was mostly formed by media.


When I started working more in the education sector as a consultant provider I did what I think a lot of media folk didn’t do. I started talking to teachers.

  • Getting under the skin of what inspired them to do the job in the first place.
  • Understanding why some burnout not because of a lack of love for the job but the administrative, target driven pressures and having to cope with behaviours that a previous generation of teachers didn’t have to deal with.
  • Comprehending the fear of Ofsted, or being deemed failing and being threatened to become academies and also the threat of new leadership.
  • Getting to talk to heads and senior leaders who while critiqued for bigger salaries where never questioned about the fact that they were on call nearly 24-7, and whose job didn’t stop just because the bell went.
  • Appreciating that leaving home at 5:30 of a morning and not returning home till 7:00 of a day might be cool for bankers who expect heavy bonuses but when you are earning £30 or £40k and struggle to get on the housing ladder…
  • Really seeing for myself that some parents think school is an easy form of childcare and a way of distancing themselves from the learning, behaviour and discipline of their kids.

As an educational consultant it is a great honour to be working with some outstanding schools and teachers. I know that going in to either speak to a year group or a run whole day workshops with a cohort of 30 students or 200 plus students can be a real challenge but the support of teachers is amazing. Yes lets be honest like any profession there are some noobs who one comes across who are just jobsworths but in the main given the yearly responsibility for the academic and citizenship development for millions of students I tip my hat to them. Given the constant changing flux of governmental policies and whims and having to ever adapt to the political as opposed to long term educational benefit of children many of them deserve a medal.

It’s high time we elevated teachers to a more respectable level like they do in so many other countries.

Cut them some slack. Go see them in action and don’t, like I did, make lazy assumptions based on media.

Check out amazing teachers like Ross Morrison McGill aka @TeacherToolkit who dedicate time on social media sharing ways to improve the lot of our children with other teachers across the country.

Of course let’s hold our teachers accountable but when you write that report card base it on evidence not just your personal opinion.

Courtesy of David McQueen at Tall. Black. One Sugar

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