March 31, 2013

This, from Matthew Hunter’s blog, says it all, really


The following post is an email that I received last week from a fellow teacher. The content will be familiar to many: pressure to adopt child-centred teaching methods; disillusionment with PGCE course; atrocious behaviour in schools; excuses making from school senior management. This email sews it all together in a particularly moving way. It is distressing to think how many talented and enthusiastic teachers have been driven out of the profession, or into the independent sector, by their unwillingness to yield to the child-centred orthodoxy. It has been posted on my blog with her permission.

Dear Blogger,

I would like to thank you profusely for saving my life yesterday – or, at least, raising my spirits.

I am a rookie – NQT (FE) and have just completed three weeks’ supply teaching at a London comprehensive – my first school post – History KS3.

Yesterday, I was told not to come…

View original post 1,694 more words



  1. In the age of the internet it is difficult to make a decision regarding where to respond to reblog such as this.

    The writer of this account was an NQT FE, teaching supply in a state secondary at KS3.

    The writer says…” I secretly disagreed with everything my PGCE taught me”..

    and then ….”Such was my compulsory schooling and I felt, for the most part, cheated, deprived and angry. The anger was hidden in the coma-like tedium, ‘asleep with my eyes open’, of my schooldays. I had reared myself on a diet of Enid Blyton and fantasised about a school with a glorious uniform, order, decorum, academic rigour and standards. I dreamt of being required to reach my potential instead of having to hide or deny it. In later years, I visited public schools, with buildings like castles, and my feeling of envy was still there.

    I think we survived our teachers because we were motivated kids with hope for our future. We taught ourselves from books when necessary.”

    The writer says….”My idea(l) of teaching is where the teacher teaches from the front, and the students listen, read and write.”

    Someone seems to have been of the view that it was a good idea to take an FE NQT (who secretly disagreed with all the PGCE taught them) and place them on supply in what seems to be a challenging London comprehensive school teaching KS3 History.

    I am not sure which I find stranger, the original decision or the idea that this account in some way adds value to the discussion about progressive teaching methods and the downfall of the UK education system to the extent that it warrants blogging and reblogging.

    • Somebody seems to have put somebody who cared about teaching kids into a situation where she tried to teach kids.

      If that’s weird, then we might just as well all give up and go home.

  2. I think it sums up the natural response of people who haven’t been acclimatised to our schools to what goes on in them. Not sure why that’s not a useful thing to hear. Particularly, as some of the people with no idea what our schools are like wield such influence over them. Should we only hear from people who have come to accept bad behaviour as normal, understandable and unavoidable?

  3. Asha’s account seemed perfectly routine to me.

    Many uk comps are like this- seen worse than was described by quite some sway.

    Of course, some uk comps are very good.

    Its a pity when SLT have let things deteriorate to such an extent.

    Myself I think a mix of traditional and progressive techniques is the best diet, but regardless of what approach is used, the teacher should have unfettered authority.

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