Last Friday Michael Gove, Education Secretary, announced the changes to education that would allow head teachers to ‘sack’ a teacher in a minimum time of one term. In speaking on BBC Breakfast it was evident that this was another means of reinforcing how accountable teachers are for the success of their students. Charlie Stayt and Susanna Reid put him through his paces on the topic and he did seem slightly rattled and vague about his facts.
BBC Breakfast – Michael Gove on axing crap school teachers (13Jan12)
What it did make me wonder was how the Department of Education would be offering support to below average teachers both before and after they were deemed to be ‘poor’ teachers; and how they would be supporting their professional development in order to increase their teaching abilities and retain teachers who had devoted their lives to teaching – before sending them off to recreate themselves in a new career.
Part of my development and interest in the work for my doctorate studies is based on this premise. How is it that we track our development as teachers whether it be through appraisal systems or self interest?
My recent paper based on the my own reflective practice has highlighted the need for a critical awareness of our own teaching. The process, although looking at the role of art educators, has been significantly helpful in allowing me to understand my own development as an educator due to both philosophical and environmental factors. What worries me is that, as a mid-career teacher, this more thorough reflection has not been instigated by my institution but rather by self interest and personal motivation to improve my teaching. What if I was content with the way I taught? … but then found out this was below average! How would an institution show that it has helped me to be the best teacher that I could be before recommending another career? Continued Professional Development (CPD) has always been a track record of your career progress; however, due to the economy, this training is reliant on teachers being proactive as well as institutions having the funds to support this development. This is a hot topic that will become more important if Gove is to implement his policy on ‘crap’ teachers. I hope that there will be a clear structure (not just observations) for how this is implemented and one that will give teachers a clear opportunity to reflect on their practice, to attend relevant re-training, and to make changes before being ‘sacked’ for simply being ‘stuck’.