The Six Worst Assumptions Other People Have About Teaching

Everyone thinks they know what it’s like to work in education, because everyone’s been to school. You might think this is just a trivial matter, or at worst just a bit annoying, but it actually causes a lot of problems for teachers.

A teacher’s status is also eroded by negative assumptions, rendering a lot of the work teachers do ineffective. As popular opinion gains weight it manages to impact on how education is structured. At it’s very worst, it causes high level managers and government to accept advice from non-experts.
These are the most damaging assumptions I have found.

1.     Lots of time off
This has got to take the number one slot, and any teacher will be able to tell you it’s not true. Workload for teachers is actually at ridiculous, unmanageable levels, and this assumption only allows for more work to be piled on in an attempt to even this up with other professions. Recently there have been suggestions from the government of extending the school day and the term length, which shows this falsehood has reached the highest levels.

2.     Those who can’t, teach
Teachers only chose their profession because they couldn’t get anywhere in industry.  Current headlines are calling for more of the most able graduates to enter teaching in an attempt to raise standards, yet when this assumption prevails, why would they? This theory also erodes authority and respect for what is arguably the most important job in the country.

3.     Behaviour management training
What behaviour management training? I’ve met non-teachers who think teachers receive some special esoteric knowledge during their ITT that allows them to instantly be able to control all students everywhere. Most student teachers are begging for more hands on training in this area, rather than the current practice of being thrown in with the deep end and told to find your own way of swimming.

4.     Lots of poor teachers
Bad, boring teaching is everything that’s wrong with this country, and underperforming teachers should be hounded out of the profession as quickly as possible to avoid damaging too many young minds. Actually, there are lots of struggling teachers, which is slightly different. Teachers are being snowed under with workload, battered with constant criticism and bullying, and rendered unable to do their job to the best of their ability because of it. Teachers need more support, but are getting more bashings instead, all because of this assumption.

5.     Everyone tries teaching
That’s why turnover is so high. Because you get paid a bit while doing your ITT, and it’s only a year for a graduate to finish training, and you can squash and squeeze any degree subject to fit one of the curriculum subjects, then everyone has a try at being a teacher. Then they leave because it’s not what they were meant to do. Not because the working conditions for most teachers are so awful that new teachers leave in their droves. This assumption does nothing to address any of the staff retention issues in education whatsoever.

6.     Integrity
In teaching, you can really ‘put something back’ into the community, rather than exploiting it for money like in the private sector. There’s none of this ‘it’s who you know’ business, it’s all about what you know. Profits and targets don’t matter – what matters is making people’s lives better, for no profit whatsoever. In the real world, teaching is as much about spin as being Michael Gove himself is. Your image of being a squeaky clean pillar of the community is of utmost importance, companies are now getting in on education through academies, and if you don’t have relationships with the right people, you leave yourself wide open to being destroyed.
This is really the number one thing I want to achieve through this blog. I want to open people’s eyes to what is really going on for teachers, and to dispel a lot of these urban myths about education. Have any of these assumptions affected your working life negatively? Send me an email if you want to talk about it.
Similar post: The Assumption That Teachers Have A Lot Of Time Off Is Very Dangerous


Susan said...

Well done, particularly the "Behaviour management training" bit.

I completed my PGCE in Life Long Learning Sector last year and we had barely anything on REAL practical Behaviour management. When we trainees (most of which had been in industry for many years) questioned this, we were simply told we should ensure our lessons are "entertaining" and "Interesting" and "Engaging". Then the students won't misbehave!

Doesn't work in the real world.

The Edudicator said...

Thanks Susan. That's what they told me as well; as long as everything is 'together' in the lesson then behaviour won't be a problem. Yeah right!

Post a Comment