Working as a primary teacher is not as I had pictured it. At a quick glance you could be mistaken for thinking that it is a joy and a way of giving back to the children. Having been at a primary school as a child back in the 70s/80s where the teachers were a mixture of those who treated the children with respect and joy and those who preferred yelling and beating, I saw teaching now-a-days as stepping in to put things right for the kids. However, there are those who stand in the way. I spoke with a primary school teacher from the English city suburbs. She told me where she views the issues…and she didn’t hold back.
The Government. Without so much as a month mucking in with those on the front line, and little more than time spent at an elite public school for experience, they have the capacity to overthrow, tip or destroy the wonderful work of those who are trained and passionate. And they do. Who are these people that set the standards of those little ones at our school? The children who arrive without breakfast or routine, those who still have nappies at 5 and the ones who cannot yet speak properly, either due to their parents not talking to them (common) or not speaking English (no fault of their own or the teachers.) They have targets set for them already! Then, these people remove any funding that was meant for the staff who would be there to support those trying to help them reach targets. Where are the TAs? What happened to those solely trained in helping the children with special needs? Not being funded. Steadily and slowly…Cancelled.
Where are the government officials when little ‘A’ who is so traumatised by his violent home life that he launches himself aggressively at another child while holding something sharp? This is a regular occurrence. Beatings, acts of violence and physical abuse. Then one day he is wrestled (by me) off another child who has gone blue from being strangled, this is child is bigger than me. I waited to see if the parents would go to the police. I was not permitted to tell them myself. I was ‘corrected’ by the management for trying to do something. I need my job and being abused periodically by the deputy is just part of it. ‘A’ needs help and he needs a new home life. The girls in the class are now displaying signs of anxiety and they need him out of their class. What adult could work in an office where there is a person bigger than everyone else with physical violent anger issues? Let alone try and learn something with them in the room? He has an incorrectly grown frontal lobe that will never function the same as a child from a gentle, loving background. It’s the fight or flight issue. It is not his fault. Don’t get me started on the rates of crime arising from the children like this, who slip through the net, eventually getting expelled. Police, social workers and the prison system waits for them. Through no fault of their own. But a slippery system. A system only designed to help the top tier and middle tier of children. However, these children are in our state school classrooms. Perhaps your children are in there with them.
A new head teacher, without formal training. No three to four years spent (as a teacher would for her part) correctly learning all that there is to know about running the school. Taking the responsibility for somewhere between 50 and 1000 children. They are just thrown in to ‘cope’ in some instances. They are told it’s simply a matter of administration, organisation and delegation. Really? They have a team who are on their knees, overworked and lacking support, suffering stress and severe anxiety. (Heads finding temps to cover sickness is a regular occurrence.) Is that who YOU would send into the field to support and lead these teachers to be teachers last, parents, social workers, charity workers, psychiatrists, psychologists and nursemaids. In to an overcrowded room of little people, some of whom have no love or discipline at home. These people are trusted with children for several hours a day. Eventually this school will fail. The teachers are leaving in threes, the families are asking questions that we cannot answer due to being threatened with our jobs, and the newspapers are blaming the teachers. We have long holidays, good pay and great pensions. According to one paper I read, and apparently we leave every day at 3.30pm. Wouldn’t that be nice.
Money. Ignorance. Votes. Who knows?
‘We’ are all facing ‘other issues.’ If you were to place funds on the future, where would you place them? My guess is it would be on educating our children and safeguarding the future.
Because there is apparently BARELY ANY funding for education and those who CAN are taking their kids elsewhere. Without the figures I foresee more and more people taking their children home to school them there. Although, this will of course cause a crash in economy as people stop working. So what can they do?
And just one more thought for you. When a child is taken from state education and brought home to be home schooled, or they are taken to private school, public school (not often) or private grammar school, the funds that the government set aside for the school that they have just left… where do those funds go? They leave that school for good. Just as I would like to do!
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