Sorry, Nicky, I’m out.

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Dear Nicky Morgan,

Please accept this as written notice of my resignation from my role as Assistant Head and class teacher. It is with a heavy heart that I write you this letter. I know you’ve struggled to listen to and understand teachers in the past so I’m going to try and make this as clear as possible. In the six short years I have been teaching your party has destroyed the Education system. Obliterated it. Ruined it. It is broken.

The first thing I learnt when I started teaching in 2010 is that teaching is bloody hard work. It’s a 60 hour week only half of which is spent doing the actual teaching. It eats into the rest of your life both mentally and physically. If it’s not exercise books and resources taking over your lounge and kitchen table it’s worrying about results or about little Ahmed’s home life keeping you awake at 2am. I’ve never minded this. I’ve always been happy to give my life over to teaching as I believed it to be such a noble cause. Besides we’re not the only profession who work long hours. What I didn’t realise back in 2010 is that the job would get harder each year.

First you introduced the phonics check. I was in Year 1 that year and continued teaching phonics to the best of my ability. I didn’t spend much time teaching children to differentiate between real words and “non-words” because I was focused on, you know, teaching them to read. I sat and watched child after child fail that ridiculous “screening” because they read the word “strom” as “storm”. The following year I taught to the test. We spent weeks practising “words” and “non words” and sure enough our results soared.

My second year brought with it the changes to the Ofsted framework and the obsession with data began. Oh the sodding data game! The game that refuses to acknowledge how long a child has spoken English or whether or not they have books or even food at home. The data game changed things. Attainment in Maths and English was no longer just important, it would almost entirely decide the judgement made about your school. Oh and whilst we’re on the judgements “Satisfactory” was no longer satisfactory – it was the far more sinister sounding: “Requires Improvement.”

From then on things began to unravel at an alarming rate. The threat of forced academisation hung over each set of SATs results and the floor targets continued to rise. Gove cut the calculator paper (because calculators are cheating) and introduced SPaG. Grammar was no longer for writing – it was for grammar. Around the same time he also froze teachers’ pay and doubled the contributions we would have to make to our pensions. Teachers were suddenly worse off than they had been the previous year and under more pressure than ever before.

So teaching became harder still and life in schools started to change. There were new hoops to jump through and somehow we just about managed to get through them. It meant sacrificing everything that wasn’t SPaG, English or Maths but we did it – we learnt how to play the game. Outside of the safety of our schools though there was a bigger game being played – one that we had no chance of winning: the status of the teaching profession was being eroded away. There was the incessant name calling and smears in the media from “the blob” to “the enemies of promise” and, of course, “soft bigots” with “low expectations”. You drip fed the message: teachers were not to be trusted and it worked: the public stopped trusting us.

As bleak as it sounds, those years look like a golden age compared to what we have to deal with now.

I was delighted when Gove went. I knew there was every chance he’d be replaced by someone equally awful but I couldn’t imagine things getting worse. I figured the Tories were done playing with Education and they’d move on to something else. I was so wrong .


This year brought with it our greatest challenge to date – the new assessments. For most of the year we were completely in the dark. We had no idea what form the tests would take and how they would be scored (we’re still not entirely sure on the latter.) There was also the introduction of the SPaG test for 7-year-olds (which was sadly scrapped because of your own department’s incompetence.) The criteria for assessing writing has changed dramatically.  Gone is the best fit approach and what has replaced it is an arbitrary list of criteria of the things children should be able to do – some of which are grammatical rules that your department have made up . Year 6 were tested on their ability to read long words and remember the names of different tenses. Whatever foundation subjects were still being taught have had to be shelved in favour of lesson after lesson on the past progressive tense.

In some ways I don’t feel like a teacher at all any more. I prepare children for tests and, if I’m honest, I do it quite well. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of as it’s not as if I’ve provided my class with any transferable, real life skills during the process. They’ve not enjoyed it, I’ve not enjoyed it but we’ve done it: and one thing my children know how to do is answer test questions. They’ve written raps about how to answer test questions, they’ve practised test questions at home and test questions in school, they’ve had extra tuition to help them understand the test questions. They can do test questions – they just haven’t had time to do anything else.

At the same time you’ve cut school budgets to pieces. This one hasn’t been widely reported yet but it will be over the next 18 months. I know of 3 head teachers who are considering having their own class next year as they can’t afford to replace the teachers that are leaving. Most schools I know have already cut back on support staff (read: made valuable, hard-working teaching assistants redundant.) And this is just the start of it. I suppose the only thing schools should be grateful for is that you introduced performance related pay and, with the leap in National Expectations, there will be fewer teachers getting their pay rise this September.

In many ways I’m one of the lucky ones – I work for two smart Head Teachers in a school with an SLT who genuinely care about teacher workload. Meaningless box ticking exercises are kept to a minimum and meetings are kept brief. We only have INSET on average every other week and book scrutiny/monitoring is only carried out once a term. Demands on teachers’ time are kept to a minimum but there is very little we can do to protect teachers from the unreasonable expectations being put on them by your Government, the threat of no-notice Ofsted inspections and, of course, the ever increasing risk of academisation.

I know I’m not alone in feeling like this. A recent survey found that nearly 50% of teachers are considering leaving in the next 5 years. Just within my own family my fiance, my sister and my sister-in-law have all quit the profession in the last 12 weeks. Rather than address this issue you’ve decided to allow schools to recruit unqualified teachers to fill the gaps. The final nail in the profession’s coffin. I don’t want to stop teaching. I love teaching but I have no interest in being part of this game any more.

Worse than being a teacher in this system is being a child at the mercy of it and to them I say this: we tried our best to fight these changes: we rallied, we went on strike, we campaigned and made as much noise as we could. I’m sorry it didn’t work and I’m sorry that I’m not strong enough to keep working in this system but as I’ve told many of you many times: when someone is being mean to you – you ask them to stop. If they continue to be mean you walk away. It is now time for me to walk away. I’ll keep up the fight though.

Maybe in time things will change and, when that time comes, I can come back to the job I loved but until then sorry Nicky – I’m out.

Yours Sincerely,

Zoe

P.S: One last thing – if you do end up losing your job over your shambolic running of the Education System – make sure they don’t replace you with Boris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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238 thoughts on “Sorry, Nicky, I’m out.

  1. Teach abroad and experience the world! For the past three years I’ve taught abroad and yes, the pressures are still there but it beats the negativity that surrounds the UK… I can safely say that I don’t think I’ll ever return to teaching in the UK. Good luck to all of those teachers who continue to strive for excellence, just remember that as long as you do your best and the kids come first, data and politicians come last (even when you want to cry!).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bear in mind that education is a devolved issue. The negativity that surround teaching isn’t so much of a UK issue as a England & Wales issue. Scots teachers don’t have half as many complaints.

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      1. Wales has had a devolved education system since 1999 after the first elections to the Welsh Assembly.

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      2. Education is devolved in Wales too. We have our own hapless politicians making a mess of things here, but thankfully not as badly as in England.

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    2. I agree! I stopped teaching in the UK in December, 1977 and moved to Cyprus in 1982. I became a teacher in a private school and the difference was amazing! It was a shock, at first; teaching the way I was taught. Separate lessons for grammar, spelling, handwriting and composition, history, geograpy and science. None of this ‘integrated day’ business. Children knew what they were learning and applied it accordingly. The chidren PROGRESSED. I must have been out of the UK when The National Curriculum came about. My brother in law, a man with a degree in teaching children with special needs, a man who taught for nearly 40 years, swears that it was the inception of the NC in the UK that started the downward slide in education. It was used as a political tool, you see. Yet, my cousin, an ex deputy-head of a primary school in NE London, is definitely for it! I’m inclined to be on my BIL’s side!

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    3. I left the UK 5 years ago, teaching abroad is much better I work in the middle east, my holidays are longer, my pay is better, less expenditure, weather much better, the parents support the teacher and the school mostly…… it has its ups and downs but I am glad I do not have all the pressure the UK has, I know of many teachers in the UK who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dealing with all the stress of UK schooling.

      Some similar issues, children who should not be in mainstream education causing disruption to the majority, no resources senco in place, no support staff (I have never had a TA ever… what are those haha)

      I teach Science A level Biology and GCSE level Bio/Chem, the UK should be ashamed of themselves of how they regard teachers.

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  2. A teacher since 1992 both in the uk and overseas, I have read the original letter and all the replies and wonder how teachers have lost control of the teaching profession. We are the ones who trained, got jobs, did lots and lots of professional development, paid for our own masters degrees etc. yet we are treated as though we don’t know what we are doing. I have always been amazed by my own and other teacher’s desire to improve every year without being told to do so….the endless buying and making of new resources, the tweaking of things to make them appropriate for certain learners, keeping vast collections of resources just in case and the feelings of self doubt when you go to bed that maybe you haven’t got everything sorted out as much as you should do for the next day.
    For some reason we have allowed ourselves to be brow beaten by successive governments unlike any other profession I can think of. My husband trained as an accountant and although we know that the big accountancy firms often help the financial sector to do some very dubious things somehow the accountancy firms aren’t bombarded with new requirements, appraisals, inspections etc. Why are they trusted to run their profession and we aren’t? Maybe we need to set up a Charterd Institute of Teachers to help us more fully articulate what schools and learning should be like and to work in partnership with government.
    I think we have to follow the doctor’s lead and make the general public and government realise that it’s not about a few flaky, stressed out, work shy teachers….all teachers are concerned about the impact of all these changes on children.

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      1. Maybe you, Paul, would have SOME credibility if you stopped being a smart arse and knew the difference between a spelling mistake and a typo. (i suspect she was tired when she typed it.) Read the comments for what they are about, not to prove that you can spot an error. Do you actually have a valid opinion to contribute?

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      2. Spelling and typing are different skills Paul. Proof reading is another useful skill too. Failure to see value where a typo catches your attention identifies you as an exceptionally gifted individual… of the truly special kind.

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      3. Oh for goodness sake, everyone knows that expert spellers make.mistakes on phone keyboards or tablets or whatever device you choose. Get a grip.
        In my 40 years of marriage I have been a home schooler to my five kids,a class teacher in the private sector, a TA and now an LSA for children with autism as I don’t want all the stress these poor teachers have. I love my job, but I agree with Zoe. But I also ask, When and where did we lose control so entirely to the Government?

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      1. It’s government interference, but the endgame here definitely isn’t big government – it’s privatization.

        One can see it in the medical profession and HE too. First cripple the public sector, then sell it to private businesses to ‘fix’. Ideally (in the view of the current government), this then relieves the public purse strings of the burden of providing the people with education or healthcare. No big government here – the private sector will now do that “efficiently”. So ‘less central political control’ is actually already the aim here.

        If efficiency means turning a profit at the expense of any other considerations, what does it matter? Nothing to those who can afford top tier private education and health services.

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    1. Some of the replies to this are interesting. Forgot to mention that “excuses” is a common one used by some Teachers. I’ve seen the badly spelt reports written by Teachers. Sorry but there is no excuse to poor spelling, grammar and punctuation. Telling me you are happy for that to go out to Parents? Governors or even Ofsted? I actually enjoy Ofsted days, it’s a day where you do what you should be doing every day. It’s never a Teachers fault is it? Some of the greatest Teachers I’ve worked with over the last 15 Years have always admitted their mistakes, never blamed anyone else and would do their job.

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      1. Oh, the irony of the person nitpicking the spelling, grammar and punctuation making several errors themselves! ‘Years’, ‘parents’ and ‘teachers’ aren’t proper nouns so don’t need to be capitalised. You’re missing a possessive apostrophe in “teacher’s fault”. I won’t even get started on your many missing commas… You’d fail a Y6 SAT at this rate.

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      2. Difference is Sarah I am not a teacher and chose not to be. Also I certainly don’t blame late nights for making mistakes and expect anyone else to properly correct it. Thanks very much for proving my original point, always an excuse and always never able to debate. Which is why the Government and Teacher Unions do not talk instead they bicker like over grown children. I suggest you go back and nit pick the Teacher posts – no? wonder why. It’s far too easier to defend your own profession as if its perfect.

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      3. You both are arguing like children over meaningless issues. Although, if anyone is making simple mistakes with spelling, grammar and punctuation. What does that say about the state of education? Does that mean that Nicky is right that education isn’t good enough for the future generation?

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      4. What an arrogant response!!! Clearly you know nothing about teaching…it is ALWAYS the teachers fault…that it what we are told !

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  3. Sad and glad to see so many responses, Zoe. Sad because it shows how this govt has reduced the profession to a state of frustration and glad to see so many understanding why you are making the move!

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  4. You should become a writer. You clearly have talent and you care. I’m sorry the teaching profession has lost your skills but I’d have done the same.

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  5. I hate Nicky Morgan but not for the reason most of you hate her. Well yes, I do dislike her for those reasons but I hate her because she has made me forsake a long cherished desire not to judge people on their appearance, her blank faced no nothing appearance is just too much to bear. Sorry

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  6. “Just within my own family my fiance, my sister and my sister-in-law have all quit the profession in the last 12 weeks. ” Clearly the author has a back up plan to teaching and or does not need to work. I have had crazy govenors, superintendents, leadership teams and currently have had no contract for three years with the SDP. I am not leaving teaching, I am working within the confines of my contract and servicing my students while aiding the union for a resolution.

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    1. So what, Linda Keels, if the author does have a back up plan or does not need to work. It is clear she hasn’t made this decision lightly and it is common sense to make sure you have something else to do should you decide to leave your profession. Which as anyone who has done that will tell you, is a big step too. Just because you choose to stay within the confines of your contract, doesn’t mean everybody else is obliged to as well. It sounds like the author has done much to work with the system, but is still, despite what you may think, being the change she wants to see.

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    2. No contract for 3 years…the confines of my contract… I’m not leaving teaching either – but I agree that it’s harder and getting worse.

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      1. Are you just going to roll over and accept everything they throw at you until you too are forced out. Or will you do the right thing and fight the changes from within. From what I can see Nicky Morgan doesn’t care if you leave or not. And in fact leaving would be playing into her hands. Search ‘protest 4th july 2016’ and come and join those who’ve had enough of this governments policies.

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  7. “You drip fed the message: teachers were not to be trusted and it worked: the public stopped trusting us.”

    I think you’ll find the public trust teachers a lot, lot more than they do politicians, especially this ultra-shambles of a so-called government.

    Since Maggie effectively emasculated the unions, and they can’t pick fights with the working class any more, they’ve decided on a new target: the professions. Doctors, teachers, solicitors etc, etc, who is next?

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    1. Mostly they’ve targeted public sector workers, who should have the decent pensions they paid for throughout their careers. Cameron’s abhorrent regime has failed to reduce the budget deficit, so is demoralising a hard-working industry in an effort to reduce the number of workers who have pensions paid from the public purse…even though the money came from wages effectively frozen for about 10 years.

      The academisation of the industry is, in reality, a ‘Trojan horse’ tactic to wipe out the number of teachers who pay into the public sector pension pot: teachers who work in academies will have to make their own pension arrangements with those highly reliable, bonus-gloating, private sector finance companies who vote Tory and love paying minimal tax.

      Perhaps the next non-Tory government will ensure that the City & its tentacles actually pay the taxes they’re supposed to…won’t catch me crying if they are forced into submission instead of us!

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  8. What a tragedy!
    When will Government Ministers begin thinking of those whose lives they are mangling? Teachers, pupils and parents need and deserve a high functioning Education Secretary not this shambles.

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  9. Goodbye Mr Chips not such a rewarding profession then,-my sister. a teacher had a knife held to her throat but its the same abroad. according to a German teacher friend though replace knife with guns, Same disalusionment with GPs prodding piles all day.Patient comes in with one complaint then asks for eight others to be looked at.

    Become an Engineer or Architect ?

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      1. There are many comments about how much NICER it is to teach overseas, which is likely true but is also so very sad.

        I never became a primary/secondary school teacher because my uni studies of Education opened my eyes to the ways that the government (of whichever leaning) uses the education system as a tool for power, manipulation and control. I refused to be part of that and instead became an EFL teacher, working in private schools and freelance. Now, I’m a coach.

        It’s tragic that the only solution to this s**tbag of a situation is to either leave the profession altogether or teach abroad. Yes, teaching overseas might be much nicer, and the overall lifestyle of living somewhere else might also be more enjoyable, but my heart is heavy tonight that we’re in this state. The government was initially in charge of the education system with the education act of 1870 and it just appears to be getting worse and worse. I’m so glad this article has had so much coverage because it asks some vitally important issues.

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  10. This is the most accurate depiction of teaching that I have read. I entered the profession at the same time and couldn’t relate more. The system is at the brink of pushing so many dedicated professionals away. For me, the realisation that though I have grown to accept that our best, as teachers is never good enough I am not willing to accept or make a child feel that their best is not good enough.

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  11. As a student teacher currently finishing their training I can only say that I am so sorry that you have been pushed to this point. Every single teacher and student teacher I have met is struggling with these new requirements. I know I have. On our first day we were told that this profession takes a dedication and grit that we have never experienced before. The level of commitment needed to keep going day after day when you know you aren’t doing the absolute best for your students is heart breaking. I have seen the passion and love that all teachers have for their students and I know this is the only thing that is keeping them in their classrooms every single day. The kids are amazing and it is a privilege to hold their trust and regard. To see that one child shine makes every late night planning and marking worth it. But how are children meant to shine if they cannot be creative, question everything and discover their strengths in a curriculum that shuts down the naturally inquisitive? This is our job as teachers and I can only hope that one day the government will see what we all know. Children are not small adults, they are not automatons and all testing shows you is how good they are at tests. It doesn’t show you how funny they are, or that they are the peacekeeper that makes sure everyone is OK, or that they are fantastic at sport, or that they can create a picture that is so detailed and beautiful it makes you want to hug them. That is in the classroom, the place it all counts.

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  12. It’s no better in the States, trust me on that one. They’ve been chopping up education budgets and reequirements ever since Reagan. Take a look at our Presidential candidates and tell me we haven’t made total s**te of things here!

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  13. A very accurate description of the teaching profession as it is at the moment. I too have been thinking of leaving for much the same reasons . I am sure you are and have been an excellent teacher. I wish you luck with your future plans.

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  14. A fabulous letter and a very sad one. I have watched the affects of this present system on dedicated teachers and seen the resignation of 2 inspirational teachers. I myself handed in my resignation after teaching for 20 years. Recently my work has been with SEN but it is wicked watching the children I work so hard with having self confidence destroyed by a system of tests, tests and more tests. More upsetting is that my 6 year old grandson has to go through it too. It is problem solving, imagination and creativity as well as Literacy and maths that makes for a rounded human being! Shame on you Nicky Morgan!

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  15. Reblogged this on SimmonsOnline and commented:
    As an FE lecturer I can identify with a lot of these points from a different end of the spectrum. We are being pushed by statistics to teach to the assessments and the constant obsession with data is quite demotivating at times (It seems like government can’t seem to cope with the fact that we are teaching people not robots). Quite a lot of the joy of teaching has been removed in the 8 years in which I have been doing the job and it doesn’t look to be improving any time soon. I intend to keep soldiering on for now but don’t think it is the career I want to keep in until I retire.

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    1. If you mean the woman who wrote the letter to Morgan I think you are being unkind… My daughter is a primary school
      Teacher and has a very similar story to tell. And it’s one that needs repeating outside of the profession…

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    2. Sadly, sometimes attention seeking is necessary. Or is the future of our children not worth shouting about? Is their education not worth our attention? Maybe you should ask yourself just what has driven so many teachers to feel this way and what can be done to help both them and the children they are responsible for. Because if we don’t, there are going to be some serious problems with the next generation.

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  16. It’s sad to read this. A good friend of mine joined the teaching profession, thinking he could inspire students with his love of drama, the English language and acting, but after several years has found that he was being assessed solely on his ability to prepare children for taking endless, arbitrary tests. His passion for his subject has been systematically ground down, and he is leaving teaching at the end of the academic year.

    It’s tragic to see someone who I know would be an excellent teacher – the sort who would find new and novel ways to teach, who would push students to redefine their abilities, and who students would undoubtedly look back on as an inspiration years later – become depressed and unmotivated, stifled by box-ticking and changing assessment criteria. From the comments on this post, it would seem he is not alone.

    Thank you pinclinegirl for such an honest appraisal of what has let to your leaving the profession. I hope that you find reward in whatever your future occupation is. I also hope that at some time in the future, systemic change occurs within government that grants teachers the respect, dignity and autonomy that they deserve, in turn improving the education the nation’s children receive.

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  17. “If you can’t stand the heat…. “. UK school leavers need to compete on a global stage for jobs, but employers find many of them unemployable. My children’s education as far back as the 1980/90s was dreadful. They also left demoralised. They have since become high achievers. Nothing seems to have improved. “get out of the kitchen.” Move over for those who can do.

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    1. David, it’s not a case of ‘can’t stand the heat’. What you’re being left with are schools who are forced to recruit untrained teachers to fill the gaps left. I’d far rather my children were taught by someone who had been trained extensively to teach their Key Stage not someone who is inexperienced but enthusiastic and cheap to employ. I’ve mentored plenty of young teachers and seen the car crashes that can happen when lessons are taught by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Cheap shot if you ask me.

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    2. In the present climate, “those who can do” very quickly morph into “those who can do, but don’t wanna do”. You need a better plan than “move over”.

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  18. Can sympathise, but only to a point.

    As somebody who has the misfortune to go to a Comprehensive School in South Wales, my ‘education’ was stifled by ‘teachers’ there who weren’t at all bothered if the children did well or not – there was never any encouragement nor willingness to engage with children. So long as they showed up and shut up everything was okay.

    Ever since, I have loathed the system which allows anybody and everybody to become a teacher just because it is a job. When teaching went from being a vocation to being a job standards crashed through the floor, and is it any wonder that instead of being one of the top countries for both achievement and pupil satisfaction we are way down. Finland are showing how it’s done – no homework, children allowed to be children and to have fun, shorter school days and well behaved children and happy staff. It is not rocket science but neither ‘left’ nor ‘right’ will have it here – the left need children to obey and the right need children to be ready for a lifetime of monotony at work.

    Crush children’s happiness and dreams – laugh and mock them if they are unhappy (or call them awkward and place them in special needs). Yeah, no wonder the children are upset but who’s going to listen?

    Let us follow Finland – shorter days, more happiness, less expectation and pressure, reward good work and effort etc. It’s not rocket science kiddos!

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    1. My sympathies to you for the bad time you had at school and the passing effect that has had. Don’t year everyone with the same brush. ‘ let anyone teach ‘ is the new mantra, with Academies actively advertising for unqualified teachers, and curriculum moving far into the abstract and administrative and denying teachers the chance to use their skills

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  19. After reading that letter, I thought all I would have to do is change the country, or state, or city and it could be anywhere in the world where these same working conditions exist. I live in the States, in the State of Illinois, which is really in a State of Chaos what with no state budget since last June, no elected school board in Chicago, where I live and taught in Chicago Public Schools for almost 13 years. Despite the teachers and administrators who have actually tried to make sense of all this, the testing companies and organizations like Teach for America (with 5 weeks training they place recent college graduates in the worst schools in the worst cities in the worst states in the nation and call it “progress.”) have become the educational leaders in this nation and it makes me gag to even use the phrase. There is a dearth of teachers all over the US and one would think that the cabinet post of Secretary of Education would notice that and wonder why. But I digress. My sympathies are with you and the children you left behind. As someone else commented, writing could be your next career.

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  20. I’ve been out of it for a good few years now, Nicky. I saw this coming a long time ago and, as soon as I could afford it, I took early retirement and ran. Best thing I ever did!
    I feel really sorry for those having to put up with the current sh… from the government. They really need to put Education back into the hands of those who really know how to run it and leave it alone.

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  21. As some one that’s worked in Schools for over a decade. My experience sits with many departments, teaching and non teaching staff. I for one don’t have any sympathy for teachers. Everyone is against them. Everyone hates them. They are above everyone. Some teachers are s joy to work with but too many are arrogant and above everyone. Then there is this “let us teach” yet you involve your selves in things that don’t concern you. You worry about doing things differently. You try and impress to those above. Sorry no sympathy. You have had budget cuts because for too long have you spent on waste. Sorry no sympathy. You are not the only professional poorly treated, under paid, under valued, working long hours, no one understands. The difference is you gov treats you how teachers treat others. Signed Support Staff. Those who’s starting salary is lowest possible for no reward.

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    1. If you are Support Staff, you too had a choice. Perhaps you don’t have the qualifications, the temperament, the vocation to be a teacher. Either way, until you have actually been a teacher, you can’t speak to what it’s like to be one. Just because you’ve worked with teachers doesn’t mean you ARE a teacher. Walk in their shoes and my shoes and then you have a right to complain about teachers.

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      1. Actually I considered training as one, even spent 4 weeks as a temp. After having lesson observations 4 times in that last, I was told by the a Deputy and Head of Department that I would make a fine Teacher. BUT as you said I had a choice. I have spent the time doing assessments, grading, data tracking but as you said I had a choice. It wasn’t my preference to continue on and was told again that it was a shame because the School was willing to fund my training and offer me good pay.

        The thing is, I do have the qualifications in my current job and my vocation. temperament is better than some Teachers I have worked with. Your post pretty much has summed up what I was trying to explain that you have a habit of making others feel like “You are on your high horse and better than others”. You are immediately reacting instead of discussing what I posted. Have you ever tried working in another professional job, have you been on the other side of working WITH Teachers as a non Teacher. Sorry but as a Parent and a Voter I have every right to criticise. Just as much as you Teachers complain about Support Staff. What you don’t realise is as a voter, we need to be on your side but your post is immediately defensive instead of debating my post. You need me, you need all Parents and you need voters on your side to support you when you protest or strike. Sadly why would I the voter and parent give sympathy to people who think they are above others in their professions. Then again most Teachers these days, go from School, College, University and straight to a 20K salary Teaching Job. There is no life experience, no working in other jobs and as you said “Walk in their shoes” which is sadly what Teachers lack as well. You immediately assume your job is the toughest in the world. You are right I could work in the private sector and earn three times what I am on but I actually do enjoy working in Schools. It’s just a shame it’s completely run by Teachers. Then again my current job is perfect, I’m on a very good salary now and not through ambition, back stabbing or “fancy ideas” that get scrapped. My hands are clean to get where I am but you can’t argue that I have had to work on tight ropes as result of some Teachers who as I said before – have a habit of making other people feel like dirt or worthless.

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      2. I earned my BS in Education at 38 and a Masters at 50. I worked in another occupation before teaching so I’ve been on both sides of the aisle. I do not speak to what others experience unless I’ve been in their positions so unless you have been a teacher, not just worked with them, you still cannot know what teachers experience in the classroom on a daily basis.

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    2. I think your comments are rather unfair. Speaking as someone who worked long hours as a Nurse in the NHS and then worked as a teaching assistant and later as a qualified teacher, I think you have little understanding of how much time and energy goes into becoming qualified.
      Once qualified with degrees and, often Masters Degrees, we are still not afforded the respect of making independent decisions. That’s why many become annoyed and frustrated. Life was easy as a Teaching assistant and that’s why the pay wasn’t so good.

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      1. You are assuming I am a Teaching Assistant and unqualified. I have two my self, as I said in another reply. I had my chance to be a FQT but I chose not to. I’m more fully aware of the work entailed in Secondary School Teaching than most Primary Teachers. You are also assuming I’ve not done long hours for my job. In my first year in my current job because of the mess it was, I would still be here at 6:30 and get home to do more work till about 9. No one cared especially Teachers because I am currently “Support Staff” although we have a new Head who is actually aware of my capabilities. My pay has since gone up quite considerably because the School doesn’t want to lose me. They have even offered me again the Teaching position. What I should have said in my other reply to a Teacher – They chose the Teaching profession. Yes let a Teacher teach but at the end of the day they don’t help them selves by forgetting that voters and parents need to be on their side.

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  22. Thanks for this – it feels honest and to be frank, hits a little close to the knuckle! You’re not alone; it’s a sector being squeezed on all sides and I have also recently decided that enough is enough – self-care is important.Thank you for sharing this, as it makes me feel like a tiny bit less of a failure myself.

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  23. My mother retired recently as a year one teacher and she’s pleased she is no longer in the game too. I’ve seen her go from loving her job, to hoping the stress would fade.
    A wonderful career has been abolished and I feel so sorry for anyone who is leaving. If only this party would actually remember that teachers are the ones who helped them to get where they are now.

    On a side note, Denmark has an incredible education system, heck the whole country has a great system. Learning of how their children learn will open your eyes to a new side of teaching.
    Japan, although tough and very high standards, it seems to work well for them, in order to succeed one must do better. I remember the head teacher of a Japanese school saying this to me as part of their school motto, however the children were happy and enjoyed their education.

    I wish you luck in your fight and I do hope that one day you can return to the teaching profession, as I feel you are an asset.

    TTFN

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  24. Me too…Dec 2015. Assistant Head 25 years. Now the country is paying me a pension that I didn’t need for another 5 years. How many more will take early retirement? How many more NQTs will give up before someone sees sense?

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  25. I had a guts-full after 20 years. Mental and physical health and being there for my own kids was more important. I think more and more teachers are finding the same to be true. After 20 years I realised I had at least another 22 to go. There is absolutely no way I could do that work at 67. The govt. will be doling out millions on “death in service” payments.

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  26. I have a lot of sympathy for teachers. As a parent, I want my child to enjoy learning, to be creative and to think independently, to be taught by an inspirational teacher, not merely to be taught how to pass tests. I am a librarian, a real one with a degree, and my profession has been reduced to almost non existent over the past ten years. In order to create a passion for reading, children need books and an interested, motivated adult, teacher or librarian, with the knowledge and experience to guide their reading choices, suggest new authors and discuss what they have read. Many children are not lucky enough to be able to afford to buy all the books they want to read or have a parent with the knowledge and enthusiasm to support their reading. School libraries are often non existent or full of tired uninspiring titles. There is a move to make school libraries compulsory and include them in OFSTED so that the impact a good library and librarian can have on pupils’ reading is recognised, but given the government’s emphasis on grammar this seems unlikely. Public libraries, which can support childrens’ reading, are being decimated. With fewer libraries and very few professional librarians, public libraries may soon be unable to provide any meaningful support. Research has shown that reading for pleasure is the only consistant factor in increasing social mobility and reducing the gap between the haves and have nots. Our children are being denied the chance to learn about other ways of life and to look outside their own life experiences and see the possibilities. Governments don’t want children to be able to think for themselves or to follow their own path, to create or to aspire – they want automatons who won’t question anything. Its frightening, it’s burning books by stealth. Teachers, librarians and parents should stand together to oppose this ‘education’ system before its too late!

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  27. I am a teacher myself, have been for over a decade. I am now in my mid-thirties.
    I too am done…but I have a mortgage to pay so I am trapped. No amount of Googling or conversations has yet led me to the answer to the question: “what do teachers do when they leave teaching?”
    I would love to know…so I can just leave this world of horrors and late night marking behind me.

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  28. Dearest lady, do not believe the media hype, there are people out there who trust the nation’s teachers, who support you a believe in you.
    I have a one year old son, the thought of sending him to school as it stands makes me feel sick, not because of teachers, but because of what this government is doing to our fine educational system, it has served generations well, with inspired teachers who loved what they do, this, along with our NHS, has been systematically been destroyed by the current government… who want us to believe that teachers and junior doctors are to blame for it all…. Not the ridiculous tests, statistics and murderous budget slashes…
    I hope you have luck in whatever you do next, but I also hope that you can take from this that not everyone blames the teachers…

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  29. All the very best in your chosen next steps. You have set a good example to those you have taught. Doubtless, the children would not have been aware of your challenges, but received the best you could give them with the tools that were provided to you and your colleagues. The teaching profession is just that, a profession. For some it is a vocation and we are fortunate that so many still have that core belief and value, despite the external challenges imposed by Governments. Industry does not allow for inexperienced, inept, loud talking people to take over their business, nor expect them to understand what it takes. I am sure you have only heard more farmyard sounds from the reporting on the “popular” debates in the House of Commons and not so loudly in your playground. Thank you for your hard work and for sticking with it for as long as you could

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  30. As someone married to a primary school teacher i am 110% behind you. She taught in the same school for 18 years working 60 hour weeks. A primary school teacher for 27 years. Lessons observed always good to outstanding. A loving gentle soul who cared deeply about the children she taught (if only the parents felt the same). Because of her quality she became a literacy leader and on the upper payscale.

    In addition to having to deal with what Zoe has so succinctly put suddenly she became too expensive and the intimidation started slowly the way bullies like to suck out your essence. NQT’s are the way forward Nicky they know what they’re doing and they can take it, except most are leaving the profession within a year…….

    My wife’s newly appointed head was an absolute moron. Governors stood by and did nothing. When asked at interview by teachers and T.A’s what he’d do to improve the school he told them ‘get rid of you lot’ and the governors still employed him. Then the lies, bullying and intimidation of staff. Since January every teacher bar one has left the school. Still the governors do nothing. My wife was coming home shaking and in tears from meetings with this man. Eventually off work with panic attacks and stress. The reason nothing comes out is teachers who are forced out are being told that if they don’t sign gagging orders (sorry settlement agreements) they won’t get a decent reference and will never teach again.
    My favourite ad is that one ‘how much does a good teacher earn’? makes me want to hurl petrol bombs at the TV.
    Children in the school are frightened of the head. No music allowed in assembly. One child has a panic attack when the head appears and still they do nothing. He intimidates children in assemblies with public humiliation and still the governors do nothing.
    My wife is no longer a teacher, frankly the school and the state don’t deserve her. Nicky Morgan has never even been a teacher. I think she taught a class of 14 year olds twice. Nicky dear why don’t you try teaching 31 5 and 6 year olds 3 of whom are SN’s and one of whom has a severe disability and full time TA (when the head isn’t taking her off for meetings during lessons) and do it day in day out until you can no longer function as a human being.
    Zoe count yourself fortunate that at least you had management that was on your side. Education is suffering more than ever.

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  31. “They can do test questions – they just haven’t had time to do anything else.”

    “Worse than being a teacher in this system is being a child at the mercy of it and to them I say this: we tried our best to fight these changes: we rallied, we went on strike, we campaigned and made as much noise as we could. I’m sorry it didn’t work and I’m sorry that I’m not strong enough to keep working in this system”

    I feel your pain.

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  32. Another ex-teacher here. Former Head of Modern Languages in a large comp. Taught for 22 years, always with the intention of getting out at 55 to avoid the risk of heart attack. Eventually my health suffered, though teaching wasn’t the only contributor.

    Took two years to get official early retirement after blocking tactics used to try to stop me (as if a useless, broken-down teacher would be good to put back in front of the kids). Sold house, took caravan to live in France, eventually bought a house, supported by wife who gave up her career as a primary school teacher (also having had enough) and we lived for ten years on a relative pittance (a quarter of what we’d been earning together).

    All that was back in 2000-2002. Things in teaching have, I understand, got much worse since then. Best thing we’ve ever done. Hasn’t been easy, but so much better for our health.

    None of this will help you, Zoe, but might encourage an older colleague to take the plunge and get out before they die. Even if it means living with a lot less money.

    Good luck to you, whatever you choose to do. The profession loses yet another talented teacher.

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