Our obsession with targets is hurting vulnerable pupils

Mar 19, 2016 by

I became a teacher because I wanted to help students who struggle to cope. But constant box-ticking means I’m making little difference

A lot of the people I know became teachers because they loved school – I became a teacher for the opposite reason. I have dyspraxia, a developmental coordination disorder, as well as a genetic disorder that affects my joints. At school, I was considered to have special needs. I didn’t realise that I was different until I started primary school and things that the other children seemed to find easy – such as getting dressed after sports – were mystifyingly hard for me.

I have always loved working with kids and my degree is in childhood studies, but I resisted the advice of people telling me to join the profession. I’d hated school myself, so why would I want to work in one?

Working with teenagers who had learning difficulties showed me that teaching can make a difference. That’s when I chose to study a PGCE with a focus on inclusion.

But four years into my teaching career, I worry about how little impact I’m having. I feel most like a failure when I’m working with special educational needs (SEN) students. The things I do to help them are only softening the blow. Attitudes have changed a great deal since I was at school – a teacher once accused me of being lazy and having nothing wrong with me – but policy has failed to keep up.

Source: Secret Teacher: Our obsession with targets is hurting vulnerable pupils | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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