Sunday, 8 June 2014

Gove wouldn't approve

I've got to that point in my first year of teaching where I am about to finish 'induction' - effectively my probationary period. 

For those outside of teaching it is an odd thing to explain - I am a qualified teacher but if I don't pass induction I won't be able to continue teaching in a local authority maintained school. If I don't pass - and you only get one chance to do it - then I am stuck in a kind of a limbo, a qualified teacher who can't actually work. Although thanks to Michael  Gove's bizarre policy acrobatics that permits him to reconcile raising professional standards with de-regulation and privatisation, this won't matter because you don't need to be a qualified teacher to work in an academy or a free school.

I am not unduly stressed -  at this point the hardest thing is a time-consuming evidence gathering exercise to fill up a folder to prove that I have satisfied the tick- boxes of the current 'teaching standards'. Although these standards are an exercise in truly tortuous semantics I do have to concede that they do at least relate (more or less) to good teaching practise.

Far more controversial is the sinister 'part two' of the standards which relates to personal an professional conduct of teachers - both  in and out of school. Some of this is common sense child protection stuff but some of it is downright sinister - such as

a) Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by:

not undermining fundamental British values, including

democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty & mutual respect, tolerance of those with different faiths & beliefs

ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law

I am not sure that I even meet these standards in the classroom when I teach kids about the peasants' revolt, the Levelers, the Chartists, the Suffragettes or the Civil Rights movement - certainly not when it comes to the 'rule of law'. And I am almost certain that outside of the classroom - my own and Gove's understanding of 'British values' are poles apart.

I spent a chunk of yesterday with NUT colleagues at a local festival - getting people to sign petitions and giving away 'stand up for education' balloons. Several of these people were my students and their parents. Not exactly revolutionary stuff,  but it did feel fantastic to be able to make some connection with what we were doing and what I have taught them about struggle and protest in history. 

And of course there was the knowledge that it is exactly the sort of thing that would piss off the likes of Michael Gove ...


ray said...

And of course there was the knowledge that it is exactly the sort of thing that would piss of the likes of Michael Gove
Shouldn't that be piss off? Must try harder. Best of luck with the induction .

Chris holmes said...

Thanks Ray - I think you've just done a bot of 'Dialogic marking' !

Dr Llareggub said...

I hope this letter from a school teacher captures the idiocy of an authoritarian teaching structure the government would approve.


Dr Llareggub said...

Sincere apologies as the letter failed to fit. Please delete. Very sorry.