It is a worrying fact that in the past few years the amount of students we see graduating with a degree in teaching or students planning a career in teaching has been rapidly declining. Teaching is at an all-time low, with student population still on the rise. This is an extreme situation and one that needs to be rectified as soon as possible before it starts to affect the quality of education, and subsequently, our children.
So why is teaching at an all-time low? And what can be done to help stop it?
The Burden of Teaching
It is a common misconception that teachers have it easy. Many people who stand by this statement are merely looking at the official ‘hours’ on the board, including the paid 12 weeks holiday a year. Well let us wipe the board clean for a moment. You need to take into account the hours spent preparing lesson plans, organising seating, setting homework, grading homework, assessing each child’s individual progress, compiling reports for governing bodies, preparing for Ofsted inspections, teachers meetings, parent’s evenings, the list goes on. All of these factors are done outside of the normal ‘teaching hours’ which are, quite rightly, reserved for actually teaching.
This can lead to an immensely stressful job which, while incredibly rewarding, also seems to be vastly underappreciated and taken for granted. Teachers are in desperate need of assistance, with classes growing in size every year and not enough time to help each individual student. The simple solution is that more teachers are needed. If the burden of teaching is shared, teachers will have more time to grade homework, to work with individual students, to create valid lesson plans and all the rest.
While this is a situational observation, there have been murmurings among the national teaching body that it almost feels as if less responsibility is placed on parents and more on teachers to teach their children in order to prepare them for the adult world. This should not be the case. If teachers are the sole ‘teaching figure’ in a child’s life, then they are missing out on a whole host of social experiences and encounters that a teacher cannot give each child in the space of 7 hours a day.
Teachers very much feel as if it has become an ‘us versus them’ mentality, when talking to children and parents, the teams being child and parents vs teachers. The balance should be corrected in a way that teachers and parents share the responsibility of teaching their children right and wrong, basic curriculum, the importance of homework etc. etc. They have to present a united front, otherwise any work the teacher does into educating a child will not be reinforced when they go home.
How can children expect to absorb information if it is not being backed up in any way? The parent needs to back their teachers up in the lessons they give at school so that it sticks in the child’s mind. If you learn a lesson once, how likely are you to remember that lesson? Now think about learning this lesson in a room full of distractions. It will be hard for children to solidify their lessons if parents are not helping on their end. It is a shared responsibility.
Inspiring Children to Become Teachers
All the responsibilities set aside, teaching is a thoroughly rewarding job and if you happen to love kids, it is incredibly satisfying to watch them overcome their own challenges, even if it is something as simple as adding five and three. We need to inspire children and young adults to consider teaching as a major career choice.
There is a lot of stigma associated with being a teacher. The saying ‘those that cannot do; teach’ brings negative connotations about going into a career in teaching. However there are children who display natural teaching qualities and it is important to encourage these and let them know that teaching is a valid and well respected career option.
The bottom line is, only time will tell whether or not this decline will have a lasting effect on the quality of our education. But it is no secret that teachers in our current society are struggling with the work and expectations heaped on them. After all, they are educating the next generation.
Article provided by Mike, working with Axcis Education Recruitment.