Top 10 Reasons To Leave Teaching: Number 4: Box Ticking Culture

You could also think of this as the oft cited problem of too many government schemes. There are far too many to actually embrace and really use to improve your work, so the end result is they are all just paid lip service to, and as long as a box can be ticked, to say, “Yes, you have done that,” then that’s as much time and energy you have to put into it.

I don’t think this was the government’s original intention when they cooked up each scheme to begin with, so why even do it? I’ve heard of plenty of careers that have too much paperwork, red tape and bureaucracy. But too many government schemes? That’s a feature unique to teaching for sure.

It’s not just the schemes that create the vast amount of boxes to be ticked either, it’s the endless ‘standards’ that have to be kept to all the time, hoops that have to be jumped through, set by a raft of various bodies that might include the establishment you work at, the uni you did your training with, the GTC, DfES, LEA, and subject specific advisory bodies. All designed to help you perform well in your job, but in reality meaning you are some kind of plate spinner with more plates than is humanly possible to spin.

And of course, all this about teaching being a creative career where you are in charge of your own classroom goes out of the window in the face of all of this. Because of all the boxes to be ticked, hoops to jump through and standards to meet, teaching has become to creativity what painting by numbers is to fine art.

What happens when the boxes aren’t ticked though? If there are more than is possible, or preferable, to tick for any one teacher, isn’t not ticking some of them inevitable? There is certainly a culture of zero tolerance in this regard, with some teacher's heads being put on spikes as examples to others. The upshot of this is that every teacher is stressed, terrified and motivated by fear to get all their ticks in all their boxes.

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