Back to Black

March 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm (Uncategorized)

In October 2008 while completing my teacher training, I wrote on this blog the following:

But there are others [teachers] who have a permanent look of disgust on their face, are brutal and cruel to kids and whenever others are out of earshot will tell you that frankly they hate kids and you should get out of the profession while you can. I just have to wonder – why the hell are they still there?  Do they think they can’t get another job in the “real world”? Do they see themselves as some sort of martyrs to the cause? Or do they just stick around for the job security and the pension? I hope I never become one of them or if I do I’ll have the good sense to get away from the job and leave teaching to those who can inspire kids rather than take out their bad humour on them.

Well it is just over eight years later and I am leaving the teaching profession and those words fill me with confidence that I have indeed made the right choice rather than sit around becoming one of those teachers I hated.

Since I plan to link to this on Facebook and most of you who are going to read this probably don’t know that I have ever been much of a blogger I feel a quick bit of context is needed.  If you don’t want the context and are just going “Huh?  why is Caroline quitting teaching?” feel free to scroll down past the next two paragraphs.

Many moons ago, before I was a teacher, I used to be very active in the Conservative party. In 2005 I ran for National Chairman of it’s youth movement Conservative Future and as part of that campaign I started a blog as it was very much the done thing for any campaign in 2005.  Anyway I didn’t win (and I shall refrain from commenting on anyone involved in that for legal reasons) but I carried on blogging.  Writing is a process which I truly enjoy and I have always done whether anyone can read it or not.  I have an embarrassing collection of writing all the way back to my childhood – a lot of which is on floppy disk and hopefully not accessible by anyone as that series of Mills and Boon esque stories set in Roman times I wrote during my GCSE Latin days is frankly a) appalling and b) worryingly explicit.  In 2007 I really hit my peak and wrote  over 200 posts in that year and developed a small but loyal following.  I was even privileged enough to make it into Iain Dale’s book of most influential political bloggers (albeit rather far down the list but still).  However as I started my teacher training it dawned on me that I could not feasibly continue to blog for a number of reasons but the key ones being time and the fact that should any of my students / employers find it, life would become particularly difficult.   So I stopped but missing writing I cherished a hope that I could keep writing anonymously as an undercover teacher. This is when I set up the blog you are currently on.  Sadly the aforementioned factor of time meant that I never got round to keeping that going.

So that sort of brings us back to the present day where as I have quit my job as a teacher and only have a paltry three weeks left in the role I am free to indulge my desire to ramble on about my views on anything and everything in a carefree style so I am resurrecting this blog.  Why this one rather than the original Caroline Hunt blog spot of the 2007 heyday?  Well frankly my views have changed rather a lot since those days and I do not fancy putting the link back up until I’ve checked through it for the worst of what I said. Also some of it actually may be legally wobbly these days considering how many of my former CF colleagues have faced or are facing varying allegations.

Teaching – its a funny old game.  Well on a day to day basis it is.  In the last eight years I am confident that I have laughed every day in at least one lesson because working with young people is frankly aweseome.  Today I was taking a GCSE Sociology class through an explanation of what the budget is and how the coverage of it varied from newspaper to newspaper dependent on their political leanings.  The class followed attentively to what a budget was, asked intelligent questions about whether that affected how much their parents got in tax credits and how much the school got funded but they also had one other burning question, “Miss, is George Osborne related to Sharon Osborne?” – at which point I cracked up laughing picturing that family reunion. I love talking to students and I love introducing them to new ideas and frankly I have had so much fun in lessons over the last eight years.

But that is obviously the side that I will miss and is not the reason I am leaving.  The reason I am leaving is that teaching in lessons is the tip of the iceberg you can see above the water.  It is what people think teachers do all day and if that was the case sign me up for another eight years. But none of that happens without individuals sacrificing their evenings, weekends and holidays to prepare those lessons, mark the work generated by those lessons, reteach those lessons to students who were not in the first time or just did not get it the first time, adjust those lessons for the students who have different needs in the classroom, create model answers to the exam questions done in those lessons, design meaningful homework that will reinforce the lesson, mark the homework done after the lesson, create a model answer for the homework done after the lesson and then finally create data tracking spreadsheets to record all of the above.  And that’s just a bogstandard classroom teacher – do not get me started on what happens once you take on a role on top of your day to day teaching.  It has to be done, it should be done but to do it to the standard that students deserve under the current conditions means you can have no true work life balance and I do not feel any individual should sustain that level of work for their entire working life.  So I’m out.

I leave with the utmost respect and admiration for my colleagues and former colleagues who are still doing this day in and day out and as long as you are still happy and healthy please keep doing it as long as you can.   But please remember what I wrote eight years ago. When you no longer love what you are doing and you are not making those kids feel inspired every day then it’s time to move on and make space for those who still have the ability to do so.

 

 

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