Posts

Stefan

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If I am starting this blog, it only seems right that I should go first. Stefan, late 30s, is a former primary school based in Yorkshire. In 2014, he left full-time teaching and now is a university lecturer, a writer and independent consultant. "I think back often to the day when I resigned from my teaching job at a primary school. There was no red mist, no tears, no door slam. Writing the letter, printing it and dropping it onto the Head’s desk happened somewhere between wiping the board clean at the end of the day and clearing away the table clutter. I had no job to go to, no plan of what would come next. As far as I was concerned, I was done with teaching forever. The end of term came and I felt no regret or worry. Just relief. "That was six years ago. I still work in education. I write, teach creative writing in primary schools, and lecture at universities. On the outside it might look impressive or like an upward trajectory, but all this has happened under the sha

Anisha

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Thanks to Maria Mitchell for the illustration.   Anisha, 30s, is a primary school teacher from Birmingham. After a spell teaching abroad, she returned to the UK unsure of her next steps. "So, I came back from teaching in the Middle East last year. It was a private school with a really international staff – very diverse – and I really enjoyed it; the life in the Emirates was really good. Everyday, it was blue skies and warm weather. For me personally, it was a great experience. But when I came back to the UK, I wasn't sure about going back into teaching again full time. The thought of those early mornings again and getting up when it is dark was not for me at all! But then I didn't really fancy doing a year of supply again either. I get my positive energy from being around people, working in a team and being in a busy place – that’s harder to feel doing supply work. “So, I thought about a change of direction and I decided to train as a life coach. In one of my previous scho

Annie

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Annie, 60, is a former primary school teacher and deputy head from north west England. She is now a part-time university tutor. After a successful early career in a primary school, she took a career break to have her daughter. When she returned to the classroom around 10 years ago, she had a very different experience of being a teacher. "Have you heard the analogy of the flea? You have some fleas in a little jar and the fleas will ping up and down and they'll jump out. Now if you put a lid on the jar or a piece of cardboard on the top, the fleas will carry on jumping but they'll hit the lid and fall down. And as soon as you take the lid off again, they'll jump out. “But, you know, if you keep the lid on long enough, the fleas learn to stop jumping higher than the lid so even when you remove it, they won't jump out. They have forgotten it is possible to jump out of the jar. And, what’s really scary, is that the offspring of these fleas learn to never jump higher tha

Sammy

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Sammy by Matthew Mitchell Sammy is an experienced primary school teacher from southern England. Having taken a new job on a temporary contract earlier this year, here she reflects on her new school’s response to the Covid shutdown. "I am an 'old as the hills' variety teacher. I trained in a federation of schools [in the south] and I worked at one school for 18 years. I traded it all in January for a more balanced work-life. Boy, do I wish I hadn’t. "So, I took a Year 6 teaching post in January this year at a one form entry school. The contract was temporary, but the head teacher assured me in an email that it was almost certain to be extended to a permanent position. "The following month, the assistant head told me that a student teacher who would be joining my class a few weeks later had already been promised the Year 6 post for next year. She didn’t blink once as she told me this. So, I contacted the head expressing my concerns over my post for Sep

Time to talk - how has the Covid lockdown made you feel differently about your job as a teacher?

Hello! Well, this has been a very strange time, hasn't it? Normally on my Teacher Talking Time blog, I interview teachers and present profiles of their experiences in education. I ask them questions about what it means for them to be a teacher, and how they feel about the job that they do. But, with the enforced time at home and the break of normal routines, many of you may have used the time to reflect on the way that you work in education. One of the big questions we can ask is: how has this time made you feel differently about your job as a teacher?  Perhaps like never before, teachers need to talk with each other and support each other, learning from our shared experiences. Maybe you have already decided what needs to change when you go back.... More time with the family and less time at work? (or the opposite...) Is there a part of your job that you have sworn never to do again? Is there something that you have learned really matters? Perhaps it has reaffirmed you

Molly

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Molly, early 20s, is a recently qualified primary school teacher with a specialist interest in SEND. She is part-way through her first year of teaching but has decided to leave for a new job in September. She lives in northern England. "I don't think your training can ever really prepare you for what it is like. You have to just jump in at the deep end and see if you swim. It's quite scary! But, over the year it has become apparent where I want my teaching career to go. "I have a girl in my current class whose home life is, shall we say, far from ideal - she's extremely vulnerable. It's pretty obvious she doesn't see the point in coming to school. Education isn't really something valued in her family. She spends a lot of time being with me, just sitting in the classroom with me at playtime. She won't leave my side sometimes, she's like my shadow. In some ways it's heart-breaking. She doesn't feel like she gets that kind of att

Paul

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Paul, 50s, has worked in primary education in England for more than twenty years. A former teacher, headteacher and government school inspector, he is now an educational consultant. "I remember reading once about a type of prison they used to build in France in the nineteenth century. The prison was circular or hexagonal, the prisoners' cells were all along the outside looking in to the centre. The guards were in the middle in a tower looking out. The thing was, all the cells had one way glass on them, so the guards could see in but the prisoners couldn't see out. They never knew whether they were being watched or not, and it was designed that way to help regulate their behaviour. "I thought this was an interesting link to school inspections. In some ways they work in the same way. It used to be that headteachers would get the brown envelope [telling them they were due an inspection] weeks before it would happen and, of course, they had time to prepare for it

Two new guest illustrators: Hello to Maria and Matthew!

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I am delighted to welcome Maria (7) and Matthew (4) Mitchell to the wonderful guest illustrator team behind the Teacher Talking Time profiles. They join Rhiann Leigh Curtis in helping bring the profiles of teachers and students to life! Look out for pictures by Maria, Matthew and Rhiann throughout 2020!