What I mean by this is the all most undermining of the teacher’s role by, for example, the appearance of the new role of Cover Supervisors.
Cover Supervisors are essentially unqualified teachers, meant just to cover for periodic absences of qualified teachers, and just to supervise the work already set. A full time Cover Supervisor in a school reduces, or gets rid completely, of the need to employ supply teachers, and the role’s emergence is widely blamed for the ‘death’ as it is seen of supply teaching for the qualified teacher. A similar role is that of the Higher Level Teaching Assistant.
In the midst of a recession, it is viewed as teaching on the cheap. But, how long will it be until longer and longer periods of time are spent with a Cover Supervisor, and eventually all classes all the time are taken by them? The work being set remotely by some central agency, poor behaviour simply reported rather than tackled, and the role of a teacher is gone completely, wiped out by the need to save costs?
Similarly, I know a lot of graduates choose teaching as it is very easy to get into. The Post Graduate Certificate lasts a year, is covered by bursaries and loans completely, and requires no previous experience or knowledge of what teaching entails at all.
Also, once you are on the course, you would have to be one unholy failure in order not to pass it. Lecturers are under similar amounts of pressure in terms of retention, and there are a million ways of getting around a potential failure, both on a PGCE and as part of an NQT year. You might be encouraged to quit your NQT year 2 terms in to avoid failing the all-important 3rd for example.
I think the relatively simple path into the profession is also one of the causes of the current climate within teacher education, in that thousands are graduating as qualified teachers, only to find there are no jobs at the end of it.
You would be hard pressed not to swing a cat and not hit someone who hasn’t tried teaching because of this. For some it is a starter career before realising a true vocation, for others it is either this or that waitressing job, and still yet others ‘try it on’ before realising it is actually a difficult profession and not the doss the entrance requirements make it seem.
The result is that it is everyone’s hobby, and nobody’s area of expertise. Teaching is a worthy, essential and difficult profession, and the current routes into it, and required level of qualification needed before you are let loose with a class, do not reflect that.
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