Friday, 16 October 2015

Ten questions about the teacher supply crisis



  1. How accurate is the data that schools and colleges collect about the reasons for teachers leaving the profession? How much quality is in the qualitative data?
  2. Do Teach First teachers, who leave after their stint ends, skew the teacher retention data? 
  3. How often do schools and colleges pay lip service to the requirement to mentor NQTs? There is an appalling, but revealing, scene in Tough Young Teachers when the trainee teacher is left to her own devices as mayhem erupts in her class. Her mentor - who’s sitting in on the session - does not intervene. Does not give her advice afterwards. Does report on the trainee’s session to senior managers.
  4. Does the Initial Teacher Education curriculum prepare trainees for the reality of teaching? Our in-service, part-time ITE course for college teachers was written by our partner college teacher educators in collaboration with the University. It focuses on teaching practice, includes innovative assessment methods and asks trainees to undertake supported experiments and research.
  5. Even though research shows that good mentoring and tutoring during teachers’ early careers aids retention, do mentors get the time and training to do the role effectively?
  6. Universities support school and college teacher educators by providing them with opportunities to collaborate, research, cross-moderate, share ideas and take part in scholarship. Do schools and colleges do this on their own?
  7. Harnessing the knowledge and experience of industry experts through Teach Too is a great initiative. But industry experts are often shocked by the behaviour, lack of motivation and bad manners of some pupils. Can mature entrants to teaching survive, without adequate help to guide them through the stormy first months of changing their professional identity from subject specialist to teacher?
  8. Work-life balance in a 24/7 profession: how are NQTs and experienced teachers supposed to make time for scholarship and CPD?
  9. Over the past three decades, the pace, frequency and extent of government changes in education policy and Ofsted regulation have left teachers spinning in a regulatory roundabout. Any suggestions?
  10. The only good news is that parity between QTS and Qualified Teacher Status Learning & Skills (QTLS) has allowed trainees doing a post-compulsory teacher education course to teach in schools or colleges. Post-compulsory ITE providers report increases in the number of trainees being snapped up by schools. With a 25% reduction in FE funding in one year alone, there may be rich pickings for school recruiters. On the other hand, how can FE Colleges deliver on government expectations for Apprenticeships if colleges start to haemorrhage teachers?
    © Rebecca Eliahoo 2015

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