Thursday, 28 February 2013

Too much stress, not enough love

The life of a teacher. Observed and graded every year by a senior member of staff who can appear in any lesson at any time during observation week. Ofsted observations now and then. Isn't that enough.

Currently, the place I am working at have found a way to add more stress to teacher's lives.

Here's why I feel stressed about work:

  • If I'm observed and don't achieve 'good' or 'outstanding', I am reobserved again two weeks after, in any session. If I get 'good or 'outstanding', I still have to be observed again. If I don't, I am placed on performance management. Reasons that I may not achieve 'good' or 'outstanding' incude - students misbehaving, students using phones under the desks, students not completing all the objectives, not having spotless paperwork showing every eventuality. Basically, if the students aren't in the mood for the lesson that day I'm stuffed.
  • Ofsted are due to visit the college soon and will only give 48 hours notice
  • The college has paid to hire in BW consultants who observe our lessons, look at our paperwork and give us grades. These are not related to Ofsted, but are supposed to be a 'practice Ofsted'. However, people are nervous because we don't what will be done afterwards to put more pressure on us if we don't come out with 'good' or 'outstanding' based on the views of these people.
  • Continuing redundancies being made to all departments. So far they have got rid of over 50 staff in the past year.
  • Staff have been told we could have a 'mini-observation' in any lesson at any time.
  • No real positive encouragement or teaching on how to improve but constant criticism outlining why we are not excellent teachers continually knocking the confidence of staff.
  • Everyone at full timetables means there is no cover if staff are off sick. New members of staff have been walking away from the job after a number of weeks due to the pressure on staff.
  • Attempting to teach GCSE English in 1.5 hours a week is setting my students up to fail as it is not enough time to cover all topics in enough detail.
When I went into teaching I thought it was something that I was good at, that I can make a difference and engage students. However, I am beginning to feel either I'm not good enough, because I'm struggling with all this pressure, or bad management decisions are going to make each year a poor experience for me as a teacher. Is it really worth it to constantly be fighting a losing battle? Management have made it clear that they are not interested in teaching staff's views, and that we need to like it, or clear off (which saves them having to fire us). If I treated my students as they treat me, I would me considered a terrible teacher. Why is it ok for me to be treated like this by my place of work?

Are you a teacher? Do you feel valued in your position?

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