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Being a teacher

Last week I talked about the positivity I felt having worked with some colleagues newly appointed to the Trust. This week, amongst other things, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some colleagues for key teaching roles within the Trust.

That got me thinking about the teaching profession in general. There is something of a crisis mentality around education at the moment. I understand the challenges that individual institutions might face. Certainly, the financial situation as is as insecure as it has been at any point over the last decade or so. I do also see, quite starkly, the crisis around recruitment and the challenge we have to persuade younger people to enter the profession. Let’s be honest about it, most employment is about economics: the law of supply and demand. The better paid and less intense roles are the more likely to attract young workers. Our challenge is simply to get the right people into the profession, not paying people over and above, when they are in the profession.

The truth of the matter is that teaching is very tough. By that I don’t mean that children and young people are necessarily particularly difficult but the nature of the role is that any teacher needs to be highly skilled, highly qualified, highly motivated and ‘on point’ each and every day. There can be no room for time wasting or half-hearted commitment. The children and young people wouldn’t let us get away with that – and rightly so!

All that said it has been a pleasure talking to those new colleagues wanting to work within the Trust, earlier this week. We are certainly doing something right, as a collective, and our individual institutions are increasingly attractive to some high-quality professional colleagues: possibly when comparing ourselves to other institutions. But more than that, I’ve had the real pleasure of meeting some of our younger colleagues who have just entered the profession, who are training to become teachers, as we speak.

I know that, as a profession, we may not feel we are where we want to be but I do feel immensely optimistic about what those new younger colleagues might bring to the profession in the coming months, years and, hopefully, decades to come.

I thank all those young people who choose this profession. There are easier ways of making a living. They are clearly highly committed, highly motivated and, it seems, have a deeper understanding of the importance of education; teaching and learning.

‘The foundation of every state is the education of its youth’. Diogenes

The Sun is shining today and that meteorological metaphor could be used to describe how I’m feeling about education in general and the teaching profession in particular.