Some Feedback

August 3, 2009

In light of what I was saying earlier about Optimism, the following is some feedback I received recently about my blog by Private Message on the TES website . It is by no means atypical:

Dear oldandrew,

I’m reading a thread on the Bevaviour Forum at the moment, on which reference is made to your blog.

I just wanted to say (as someone who only did their PGCE year not that long ago, and have read your blog for a few years now) what an excellent site it is. I knew teaching wouldn’t be an easy job to do, but I was quite shocked at what actually goes on in many schools these days. During my PGCE I was verbally abused, had someone walk out of my lesson, and encountered racial abuse targeted at me. I was at least heartened (if that’s the correct term) when I started to understand that it wasn’t just me when it comes to the poor behaviour I have seen, and at least it is normal for it to happen in many lessons. That didn’t actually make the job easier in itself, but at least I have come to understand that it isn’t something I have done myself, or that I deserve it!

I enjoy the job in that I think it can be a very rewarding career, but I did somewhat become cynical during PGCE lectures with regard to some of the strategies and whether they would actually be effective. Some of the advice you have written on behaviour management I have found to be very good (and have put it into practice). I also decided to stop reading ‘getting the buggers to behave’ which, going back to the start of this, I found made me feel like everything I had encountered was my own fault.


I thought I’d share this as it sets out exactly what this blog is for. It is not one long whinge, nor is it a place for people who have already had enough. It is for teachers (and others) who are interested in the truth about what is going on in our schools, and what can be done about it.


  1. ‘I was at least heartened (if that’s the correct term) when I started to understand that it wasn’t just me when it comes to the poor behaviour’

    I totally agree with the person posting in the message, it certainly achieves this aim.

    At our end of term bash we had a member of staff leaving who stood up and said thank you to SMT for the advice, guidance and support they had received in the 3 years post qualfying at our place. The comment gained the biggest laugh of the day, but was meant sincerely by said leaver.

    I think this blog should be compulsory reading for people who want to know about the reality of the problems one may have to confront if one undertakes a career in teaching and for that the owner of the blog should be congratulated. The blog should be referenced by PGCE courses up and down the land.

    My only proviso would be that it should also be said that teaching for many teachers is not as depressing as might be suggested. Thre are schools and jobs in whih teaching is a joy and behaviour management is no great issue. I have heard such schools referred to as ‘robot schools’ as everyday can be much the same and the challenge can be significantly less.

    So I would like to add my congratulations and say thank you for the time and effort that the blog owner has spent developing this comprehensive resource which, for those at the sharp end in a challenging teaching environment will be very reassuring.

    As a footnote I think that the PGCEr should perhaps get involved in improving the quality of PGCE courses in general and their provider in particular. Feedback is key to improvement. I trust the writer of the message continues to have a successful and rewarding career.

  2. Here here! You’re doing a great job. The realities of a teaching post are often challenging. Teaching can be a very lonely profession where it’s easy to think you are the only one with problems. Thanks for sharing and telling it like it is.

    • Teaching can be a very lonely profession where it’s easy to think you are the only one with problems.

      So very true. I was told this when training and I didn’t believe how it could be. It is amazing how, with so many people around you, one could be lonly at work.

      A sad indictment I think

  3. I’ve had a tough NQT year: it has been made worse by other teachers who claim to have no difficulities, and it has been made easier by discovering teachers which have experienced, and admitted to suffering from, the same problems.

    I too am going to thank you Andy, because your blog reassures me that just because a lesson is wrecked by poor behaviour, it does not make me a bad teacher.

    P.S: in your photo at the top of your page there is, what looks like, a box of tissues. Is there any meaning to this?

  4. It would be interesting to know which behaviour tips he found most useful. I went in search… and read a post of yours on the behaviour management database. Good post.

  5. When asked why he (teachingbattleground) hasn’t published a book of is experiences or even more importantly his tips so that newcomers to the profession might shortcut the learning curve, he replied “watch ths space”.

    You might not have long to wait snuffy.

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