The slaughter of good teaching lambs

I met a new young teacher the other day. She had only been teaching a few years and was fresh with the fire of enthusiasm, love of children, and her new job.

Why then did I have that sinking image of yet another lamb going to the slaughter on the altar of the education system?

Because I’ve seen it happen so many times. And because only a few minutes into our conversation she’s voicing her shock and dismay over the incessant and destructive testing of children, the disruptive effect of SATs and learning objectives wasting their time when all she wants to do is inspire kids to learn. She also talks about the awful pressure teachers are put under, often bringing out the less pleasant side of personalities, in their fear to survive.

Since she and many, many other teachers think that schooling is totally losing its way with the education of the young, since thousands and thousands of parents are opting to home educate, since parents of school children are becoming increasingly anxious, and since many teacher/parents are also taking their children out of school because they know that what goes on there is not good for kids’ development, it beggars belief that the politicians who’ve created this increasingly damaging system can remain so staggeringly blind and ignorant to what’s really happening

What’s really happening is that parents and teachers and children are leaving the system in droves. You’d think politicians would at least be intelligent enough to ask why that is.

I worry this new teacher will be another one, poor lamb! I wonder how long her enthusiasm and passion will last before it’s tarnished by the pitiful processing of kids that politics demands of teachers and another enthusiastic teacher is lost.

A good teacher can ignite the fire of learning passion.

I see too many ending up doing the opposite because, so sadly, their own fires inevitably become extinguished.

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9 thoughts on “The slaughter of good teaching lambs

  1. I can completely relate to this blog Ross…fire extinguished in kids and teachers alike…I like your ideas for revolution in education – AWESOME 🙂

  2. It’s a sorry state of affairs Ross when this happens and unfortunately, it does happen all the time. Imagine how much time is wasted on testing? What saddens me more though, is that all this testing was extended to under eight’s in every setting, including Day Nurseries and After School Clubs.

    I feel very sorry for the poor lot who enter this vocation, for the purpose of wanting to enjoy being with and playing with young children. For the sheer joy of encouraging the child to learn at his or her own pace. It is just so frustrating, to witness a child first hand, desperately craving attention, and yet not receiving it. Of course, even though the staff ratios are right, nobody has time to play with the children any more, because we’re all too busy ticking our boxes!!

  3. Yep, more or less! 🙂 With the scrapping of all testing and measurement though, how would you ‘monitor’ progress? How would you ensure some teachers weren’t just plonking worksheets in front of kids and telling them to be quiet as soon as no one was looking? …Not that many teachers I know would do that (though I experienced such a character when I myself was at school, as I’m sure many of us have). Anyway, thanks for the reply, Ross.

  4. I don’t think we can expect those poor, poor politicians to see any of this really, can we? After all, how can anyone one see anything clearly when their head is stuck so far up their own back side?

  5. I couldn’t agree more and am dangerously close to having my own fire extinguished 6 years in. I love my job but am currently on sabbatical giving me the opportunity to travel and just check to see if there isn’t a more wholesome way to engage with the education of children than the test-orientated over-worked chaos currently evident. Can I ask you Ross, what three things would you change in our education system given the chance?

    • Aw, that’s so sad and just what I mean – thanks for posting! I think the three things I would change would be to scrap all the testing and measurement of children and teachers (degrees included!), scrap any kind of over prescriptive academic curriculum and focus on transferable skills , and give each child more attention from an inspiring and humane adult who does interesting things, rather than just a qualified one! The whole system needs a complete overhaul really!

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