THE BLOG

Let's not Downgrade the Teaching Profession

17/01/2014 10:51 GMT | Updated 18/03/2014 09:59 GMT

In 2013 the number of teachers in England's state schools fell by 12,000 and the figure is since ever increasing. Teaching is a tough job but many did not expect a huge fall in teacher numbers in the space of such a short time. Isn't it surprising that these results have come after the coalition came in to power in 2010?

Teaching as a profession is being downgraded under this government. There seems to be a very worrying negative stigma attached to teachers. They are seen as people who failed in their profession and had no choice other than to become a teacher. I could not possibly disagree more with that view.

It has not been long since I left the school classroom and I have good memories of my teachers as I am sure most students do. I remember my teachers as being very hard-working, dedicated and wanting the best for their students. Teaching is a passion and one must possess the desire to educate their pupils to the best of their ability.

I'm not saying that all teachers are good; there are a few bad apples. Recently we have seen our exam results drop in comparison to other countries. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and do something about it. I am in favour of tougher regulations and inspections on teachers. However, I don't buy the argument of sacking under-performing teachers.

There must be exceptions if this government or a future government looks to impose such regulations. For example, sacking a teacher who has a great amount of experience just doesn't work for me. Working with teachers and improving standards is something we must look at. It's no good just sacking teachers especially at a time when the teaching profession is not as popular as it once was.

The much debated topic of employing un-qualified teachers in state schools is a no-brainer from my point of view. We cannot have people who are not fully qualified to teach pupils complex subjects, or any subject for that matter. Teaching is a skill that requires great expertise in communication and student engagement. Subject knowledge is not enough, teachers must be able to interact with their students and ensure that they are learning and not just mere observers.

Inviting a guest-speaker who has experience in a particular subject is fantastic and something I welcome. However, that does not mean that person has the attributes to teach young students. This government's decision to allow un-qualified teachers in our state schools is a grave risk to the futures of our students. Michael Gove is experimenting and toying with our educational establishments and it simply is not acceptable.

Teachers need to be treated with more respect and honoured for the hard-work they do. They work tiresome hours planning lessons, marking etc and their hard-work deserves to be acknowledged. The teaching profession is becoming increasingly un-attractive and the figures prove it. If we want to produce more outstanding teachers the government must stop undermining the profession and stand up for the teachers who work endlessly for their students.