I have been a teacher for nearly eleven years. I love working with children. I love seeing light bulbs go on and little characters develop. I love how as teachers we are always looking for ways to develop and refine our practice because we want the best for our children.
But a lot of the self improvement recently seems to be motivated by SATs results and curriculum changes. We’ve become focused on getting better at helping children to jump through hoops that get higher and higher due to the consequences of a set of bad results. ‘No excuses’ becomes important not because it’s right for the children, but because it buys us a few more minutes in which to teach them some more useless grammatical terminology. Independent thought and collaboration fall by the wayside, because you don’t need them for rote learning.
If I’m honest, I’m tired. I’m tired of ‘playing the game’ because ‘we have to.’ I’m tired of colluding in things I know aren’t right for the children. I’m tired of having to shoe-horn fronted adverbials and subordinating conjunctions into children’s writing to tick a box. I’m tired of hearing about what the DfE wants and being judged on how well I follow rules that I never agreed with in the first place.
And I wonder how long I can exist in a system that I fundamentally disagree with. In truth, I’m not sure.