Why are my wife and I quitting teaching?

May 8, 2017 by

Brutal cuts, bad policies and stressed kids

Peter Foggo-

After 26 years as UK teachers, we are leaving the profession because of the government’s philistinism and complacency of staggering proportions

It was a strange and sad day last week when my wife and I called the staff into the music room to inform them that we had decided to resign from our posts as headteacher and deputy at the school. We did our best to explain our reasons for leaving. Nobody had seen it coming, and everyone was stunned. I couldn’t help feeling that we were letting them down.

The letter to the parents was even harder. We went through draft after draft until I was almost happy with it. Could it explain our reasoning clearly enough? What response could we expect? The next morning it was clear that not only had parents accepted our arguments but were wholly supportive of our decision, although many asked if we might be persuaded to change our minds. And as to the children, they remained as fickle and forgetful as ever. As anyone who has ever been told they are “the best teacher in the world” knows, a year later Mrs Smith will be taking on that heavy mantle in your stead. For most of the children it was very quickly back to business as usual.

Teaching is not an occupation that you can leave at the door when you go home at the end of the day. When couples are both in education the danger of taking the static and hum of a day’s teaching home with you is more than doubled. As headteacher and deputy we have found that we haven’t just brought the day’s problems home with us but have let school business permeate through our waking (and often sleeping) lives.

At first this wasn’t too difficult, as “a problem shared is a problem halved” often turns out to be true. But as the country was ushered on to the sunlit uplands of the shiny new coalition government, back in 2010, grim clouds were gathering for the teaching profession. Over the next five years we suffered the introduction of the phonics “check” for five- and six-year-olds, no-notice inspections from Ofsted, the new “Victorian” primary curriculum, the threat of forced academisation, pay freezes and cuts to our pensions. All to the demoralising backbeat of continuing criticism from politicians and the press, telling us again and again that we were not good enough.

Like many of our colleagues we adapted to the inevitable, endless changes, soaked up the abuse, kept our heads down and got on with the job the best we could.

Source: Why are my wife and I quitting teaching? Brutal cuts, bad policies and stressed kids | Peter Foggo | Opinion | The Guardian

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