Tom Bennett Describes SMT as 'Interesting'

I like Tom Bennett aka The Behaviour Guru, simply because there is absolutely no spin put onto his words or his work whatsoever. I think he is genuinly passionate about what he does, which is actually quite a rarity in the world of the beaten down teacher. He is relentlessly positive, practical and honest, and that can be quite inspirational.

In the TES Forums post I've linked to at the bottom of this post, what I find is of relevance to my message are the parts of the original poster's situation that he calls 'interesting', which I have quoted below:

"It sounds like they've given up on you, or have given the impression of this. Which is interesting, because its a school's responsibility to show that they have provided you with the best possible learning environment for YOU, because this year is still a training year for you."

"Isn't it interesting how, when kids under-perform, head's turn to scrutinise the teacher with accusing eyes, but when NQTs run into hot water, the school starts wagging its fingers when it should be forming the mea culpa?"

"What's also interesting is that they seem to be trying to get you to go of your own accord. The benefit this has (for them) is that they then don't have to justify why you haven't passed your NQT year; they simply shrug their shoulders and say, 'Gee, she split.' But if you stay it becomes a bit more problematic for them..."

I think instead of 'interesting' I would describe the situation firstly as being very common. The way in which the support as an NQT is described is very similar to that which I received, and I am sure I can find others who agree.

I certainly think that there is an excessive culture of blame in teaching, where when something goes wrong, the teacher's competency is the very first thing to be called into question. I like how Tom has highlighted the hypocrisy of this: senior managers in schools criticise support of students while not supporting their own teachers.

Something I also haven't considered yet is that there is actually a lot of corner cutting in education. The sheer amount of paperwork and government schemes that are in place mean you can't possibly do it all to the standard that yourself or anyone you work with would like.

The smartest way to work is to learn to cut corners where no one can 'do' you for it. One way senior managers do this is to write NQTs off like this, instead of investing time, effort and support into their proper development.

Interesting indeed!


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