If you are connected to any media outlet, you cannot have missed the increasingly numerous adverts for potential new teachers – they are on the TV, social media and even one some billboards. The speculation regarding the need for such advertising is rife amongst practitioners, but we can assume that there must be a need for this advertising or it would not have been financed.
This morning, I decided to read through one of these adverts on Facebook and peruse the comments underneath the post and I was, to put it mildly, rather shocked. The comments were dominated by teachers and ex-teachers telling others not to become teachers. Out of the 230-odd comments, around 3 were positive ones and the rest were along the lines of “Don’t do this – you’ll hate it.” In conversations with my teacher friends and colleagues, a certain level of disdain has also been prevalent, with many questioning the £65k salary figure. In fact, this is a bit of a joke amongst some.
This all got me wondering how I found out about teaching and what made me take the step to become one. There are a number of events, from my own Mother and her job in education to me doing some teaching during my Masters, all of which influenced me. I came to the realisation, however, that the biggest influence on me was my own schooling, both from the positive aspects and the negative aspects. From the positive side, I wanted to emulate the fantastic teaching that I received and return this to future students and from the negative side, I wanted to right the things that I perceived to be wrong.
We are currently teaching future teachers and, whilst there may be a bit of a teacher shortage currently, this is likely to become compounded in the next decade. If we want to inspire future teachers, we should be looking to the classrooms of today and facilitating positive experiences for our students so that they feel inspired to follow in our vocation.
Whilst there is such negativity amongst the profession, we are likely to deter future teachers who can see the obvious strain and stress that many of their educators are under and no amount of media advertising will change this. No sane person is going to view an over-worked teacher and think that it is the profession for them.
The DofE should consider how their classrooms are impacting teacher uptake in the future and how their finances could be better spent there rather than in wider-media.