Sunday, 11 July 2010

Why should teachers care whether some of their colleagues can't teach?


In an otherwise pretty moaning and self-justifying article in the Sunday Telegraph, former school governor, Joanna Leapman raises the question as to why (almost uniquely) teachers appear to deny the existence of any bad teachers.

Teachers take criticism less well than any other professional body I can think of. The teaching unions line up regularly to wheel out quotes attacking their portrayal in television dramas in a way no others do. I can’t recall ever seeing quotes from pub landlords or shopkeepers saying that they are unhappy with their latest characterisation on screen.

Sadly Joanna Leapman goes onto a whole array of unconnected attacks on the profession – there aren’t enough “top graduates” in teaching (I really fail to see how being a top graduate will assist in teaching 6 years olds to read and write or 11 year olds to string a coherent sentence or two together) and teachers can’t spell – this latter accusation arrived at through quoting anonymous posts on a teachers on-line forum, most of which seem to have had liquid assistance in their creation.

Mrs. Leapman misses the point. It isn’t that teachers are in denial about poor teachers but that this really doesn’t matter to them. If you work in a private business incompetence matters – it might cost you your job. In a state controlled and directed industry like education the presence of incompetence is irrelevant if annoying – there is absolutely no need and certainly no incentive to complain about another teacher. And despite the best intentions of Government and of organisations like Ofsted, these are not a substitute for raw self-interest.


1 comment:

Pam Nash said...

I have an abiding memory of a teacher - I'd been off ill (really, seriously) for 5 weeks. I went back and the first lesson was French dictation, of course I was 11 and had missed 5 weeks so I was terrible. She gave me an 'E' and no help at all - I had an total hatred of both her and French for the rest of my schooldays.