Should The Government Commision Excellent Teachers To Write Lesson Plans For All?

Posted on: October 26, 2012

If you were to believe the media’s perception of teachers you would imagine that you are sending your child to an establishment where they would be greeted by a half wit who is planning on spending the morning planning their extensive Summer holiday.

Fortunately most parents appreciate the work a teacher does and still show the respect that they deserve.  Over the past twenty years teachers have had to adjust to many changes in the education system that ultimately seem to be lowering standards rather than raising them. 

We would hope that by now OFSTED would have done such a good job in informing schools how to be excellent that they would have been phased out.  Any other consultancy firm would have been dropped for failing to make improvements; maybe OFSTED needs to change its approach to be more like the HMI inspectors of old where they have access to schools more frequently but also take an advisory role so standards can be improved.

The National Curriculum is a fantastic idea, developed so that teachers would teach the whole spectrum of subjects rather than just; painting, pottery or other subjects they were passionate about.  I believe it was developed so that a child in year three in Cumbria could be learn about Vikings one week and could move to a school in Dagenham the next week without the fear of repeating work they had already done. This is not how it is because it is guidance but not meant to be prescriptive resulting in the discrepancies in standards achieved from school to school.

Would the education system improve if the whole curriculum was completely prescribed with huge books containing lesson plans written by the best teachers in the country, that way it would guarantee that everyone was teaching exactly how the Government would want them to teach?  This way the tick boxes could be streamlined and everyone would have the benefit of the wisdom of teachers who can teach to the required standard.

The above theory is completely flawed due to the fact that every class is different and every teacher is different.  Every child and teacher has something unique and different to bring to the classroom, sometimes the whole experience is positive and everyone flourishes in the classroom environment.  Unfortunately the experience can also be negative and that can have a devastating effect on everyone involved.  It is the negative situations that need to be remedied before standards can improve. 

Negative situations are not caused by just the teacher on the Thomas Cook website booking their holiday in France while polishing their nails, believe me that is not generally the case.  These situations can be exasperated by stress, children coming to school from a very unsettled environment and many other reasons that turn the whole experience sour.  We cannot lay the blame entirely at anyone’s door but positive support is needed to improve the situation so that standards can improve.

It is time to change the approach to improving standards because huge statements to the press stating how teachers are going to be ‘punished’ for their failings is clearly not working – it is causing existing teachers to feel under pressure and is not making the job particularly appealing to prospective excellent candidates.  Teachers don’t conjure up the topics for lessons, they are told what to teach and increasingly how to teach.

I am a not an expert in education – I have been a teacher though and do know that on the whole teachers work extremely hard and want the very best for the pupils.  It is the most rewarding job in the world but also one of the hardest.

Please Mr Gove find a way to improve the standards in education by working with the teachers and not against them – you will be surprised to see that they want the children to succeed just like you.


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October 2012

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