Monday, 7 January 2008

Ministers want Britain's top IT and science companies to encourage "career switchers" to go into teaching.

Ministers want professional scientists, mathematicians, information technology experts and engineers to help fill the skills gaps in classrooms.

Many of England's science teachers have not studied science to degree level.

I'm afraid that this stated desire to get people out of commerce into the classroom is, however well meaning, a perfect example of simply not having a clue.

Let's ignore for one moment the money - even as a mediocre IT professional I was earning about as much as the headteacher of a large secondary school. Bumping up the salary to attract people simply leads to wage inflation across the board. Let's not focus on the work itself - without doubt there will be some tough times but at the end of the day very few teachers will find that they have to drop everything and get on a plane to NY or Stuttgart because a server has crashed or the project team have hit a snag - it's not 9 to 5 but it's also reasonably predictable. Let's look at the biggest disincentive - the other teachers. Don't get me wrong - I know lots of teachers are hard working professionals doing a sterling job in trying circumstances but we've also all met those teachers who are straight out of teacher training and don't look old enough to be out alone. Many have few social skills and depend on a world where the people they interact with have to call them "Sir" and offer some kind of respect whether it is warranted or not. Would you chose to spend too long in the staff room with these folk?

In my world nobody would be allowed into teaching until they had spent five years in the world of work after graduating. Going into the classroom without "life skills" is doing the teacher and their pupils a great disservice.
More than 250,000 qualified teachers no longer work in England's schools, the Conservative Party says.
My plan might help deal with this too.

2 careful considerations:

Echomouse said...

I agree with you about teachers. There are some I've met in the past 10 years, just out of teacher's college, who think they know everything and really don't know much at all. They chose teaching because they weren't good at math or science or english. Great! I shudder for the children they teach.

There are also the ones who stay too long, who should have retired years ago. One of my accounting professors in college talked nothing but baseball and hockey most of the time. He taught most of our courses in the final year. I ended up always having to teach myself the course lessons after class. Still ticks me off to this day as I worked 3 jobs at a time to put myself through college. Extra work I did not need! Needless to say, I don't give money to that school and made them take me off their alumni list.

Guess I really ought to get over this now that it's been 20 years! lol

Rob Spence said...

Well, possibly. When I was a teacher I occasionally encountered parents who said things like "you don't know the real world - you've only ever been in education". Leaving aside the fact that education takes place, as far as I know, in the real world, these parents, who had often gone straight from school to work down the pit, had no experience of anything other than that. I, on the other hand, had worked in shops, offices, factories, warehouses, as a postman, as an errand boy etc. I knew what the world of work was like all right.