Bloggers Who've Quit

I’ve noticed recently the demise of a few blogs that are similar to this one that I was really getting into. It’s made me wonder about the nature of education and how to truth is often swept under the carpet.

First to go was the website why I’ve put the link that leads to nowhere I don’t know, but that’s where it used to live. It was once run by a chap who I won’t name as he obviously wanted to stop speaking out about things, but who experienced bullying, came out of teaching, and went back in. Part of me thinks it’s because he is now a teacher again that the website has been pulled.

Another that I was really sad to see go was Crapteacher, at (another broken link). His subject matter was not particularly related to mine, and it was more a satire blog based on stereotypes in education. Even so, some of it did expose how stupid a lot of the working practices are in teaching, and it was absolutely hilarious. I know he got found out by the school he works for, in fact I think it was the students who first knew, and his management asked him to stop posting.

The need for secrecy and anonymity when speaking out about what really happens in teaching is evident when you visit TES Forums, as many posters change or leave out details to avoid being identified.

It reminds me of Alex Dolan, who in 2009, produced ‘Undercover Teacher’ where she secretly filmed poor behaviour in schools. She was suspended from teaching by the GTC, and part of what she uncovered was the dubious management practices of the SMT there.

Indeed, I keep my own identity secret, even though I don’t work as a teacher anymore, partly because I am bound by the terms of a compromise agreement which would probably be broken if I put my name against what I’ve been saying. But also because I don’t want to risk any more bullying, blacklisting and character assassination, which I think would happen in order to attempt to discredit what I’m saying.

And this is why there is not more done about the poor treatment of teachers – because speaking out often results in a worse consequence, either legal through gagging clauses, or through getting your card marked forever.

It’s an extension of bullying and abusive behaviour, in that the victim is too frightened to speak out against the bully because of what will happen. As is evident from these bloggers quitting, there is no protection from that.

There is a culture of denial and falsehood in education, on many issues, but particularly in terms of talking about what really happens behind closed doors in capability and performance management meetings. To admit that it is happening to you is showing an inability to cope and leaving yourself wide open to further negative action against you, therefore it’s best to keep quiet.

Mentioning that something negative like this is happening in your school, generated by your SMT, will lead to you losing your job and your career. Even if it is the truth.

In other career sectors, including the one I work in now, professional forums are filled with people using their own names, and stating clearly where they work. Most interactions between posters are positive, sharing best practice, and collaborating. Teaching is such a negative place in comparison.

And it goes against everything that education stands for: truth, good moral values, continual improvement, facing up to challenges and tackling problems with a positive attitude rather than running away.

Do you know of any other teachers who have been gagged, or refused to speak out because of fear? Ever suffered at work because you’ve spoken out about bad practice? Email me, or comment below.

Related post: New Teachers Want To Quit In The First Week


Post a Comment