Would more free time raise standards more than new initiatives?

I received an e-mail from the people behind Teaching Expertise yesterday; they were worried that my recent posts were short and failed to bring across my personality. Unimpressed, I went to the posts and was forced to agree. Worried, I asked my Head of Deparment if the same was true at work, it was; for the last two weeks I have apparently been “distant, linear and flighty”, not my normal “chatty, idea-sy, salesman self”. It would seem that the strain of Ofsted, Antarctica and the last week of term has got to me.

In light of this feedback I apologise and promise to do better. There are three things that should have kick-started my personality today:

  1. I didn’t get out of bed until 7am.
  2. I was touched by what else my HOD said. Apparently, her and the rest of the department, were worried about my health. When they saw my eyes sinking into my head and that I was having to eat lunch during my lessons as I couldn’t get a break they decided to help me out. But, knowing that I wouldn’t admit to being under pressure they tried to do it subtly so I wouldn’t notice. This explains why I occasionally found my HOD doing my register and why hot deserts would appear on my desk during period 4!
  3. I got the most amazing good luck card from the students. They had got together, found lots of pictures of me on the internet and made a card. The card was then signed by children I teach this year, students from last year, members of my running club and people in my tutor group.

Reflecting on things today it seems that we have strengths, but the daily chaos of teaching conspires to keep them hidden. I’m good at motivating and coming up with ideas. However, over the last couple of weeks those skills have been buried by the daily grind.

If the school, the Government and Ofsted want to improve education I don’t think more training, more initiatives, more paperwork and more targets are the way forward. Instead we need to trust that there are talented people in schools and give them the time to think, plan and inspire. Just because they’re staring into space with a cup of coffee in their hand, doesn’t mean they’re not working.

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