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      17.03.2009 23:18
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      a great profession which needs to be recognised through better pay

      Teaching has to be one of the most rewarding jobs you can do. No two days are the same and there is no other job where you can take 13 weeks paid holiday a year!

      I studied law at university then did my PGCE the year after. This is a very intensive 1 year course but well worth the pain. I have been teaching in a primary school for 3 years now and absolutely love it. I have done 1 year in Year 1 and 2 years in Year 2.

      Teachers not only have a fun job but also a wealth of responsibilities. It is extremely physically demanding having 30 children all wanting your attention at the same time. If we were paid the hourly babysitting rate per child im sure by now i would be a millionaire!

      A teachers job is now not just planning and delivering lessons but providing emotional and social support to children and their families. There is also the added problem of disruptive children being put back into mainstream schools - due to the closure of special schools. This affects the other children sometimes in quite detrimental ways. Unfortunately i think this 'inclusion' approach is set to stay, much to the dismay of parents and teachers.

      Overall teachers do a great job. Many people just dont realise the work that goes on behind the scenes to educate their children. It is a difficult but largely rewarding job. I would recommend it to anyone with a love for childrens development and a very patient manner!

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        29.09.2008 21:47
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        A fantastic profession to go into if you are serious about it!

        I have been a primary school teacher for almost 4 years. Within those 4 years I have taught in 3 different schools and had 3 very different experiences.

        Teaching in a primary school is an extrememly rewarding job. Each and every day you have the power to impact and change a young pesrons life for the better. You are the person they often look up to and respect and you are often that child's only positive role model.

        Each and every day that I go into work I realise the immense power and responsibility I have been given. I have 26 young minds in my class that I have the power to influence. 26 young minds that are ready and willing to absorb whatever I have to say to them and that responsibility all rests on me.

        My job, whilst extremely rewarding, is also extremely difficult and full of challenges. Each and every day throws up new challenges, most of which I never dreamed I would meet in a primary school. To some of the children in my class I am the only person they have to turn to and so my role stretches from teacher into mentor, role model, and sometimes even carer.

        However if we return to the job title of 'teacher', my chief goal and aim each day that I go to work has to be to further the learning of the children in my care. I do this through careful planning and preparation of exciting and stimulating lessons that will motivate the children to aspire and achieve more than they ever thought was possible.

        As well as my work in the classroom, there is a lot of work that goes unseen. A teacher has to plan each of her lessons until she is truly satisfied that the lessons are going to teach the children something new and that the children have the best chance of learning a new skill or new knowledge. However as well as these lesson plans, a teacher must have a general overview of what she will teach throughout each term and year in order to make sure that she has covered everything that is required.

        As well as planning a teacher must also make sure she is continually assessing her class and individual pupils to make sure that each and everyone of her pupils re indeed learning and progressing at the expected rate. Within this assessment teachers must adapt their planning and preparation to suit those children who may not find the curriculum attainable or manageable and the job of the teacher is to create individual plans for the needs of these pupils.

        Overall I love my job, everyday is different and every day has massive rewards. Most days I look forward to getting to work and teaching the children but of course it is extremely tiring and there are also days when I never want to go back to my school again. Just like any profession teaching has its ups and downs.

        I believe that teaching is not a job to step into without giving careful consideration as to whether it is something you want to spend time doing. There is a great repsonsibility put on teachers to shape and mould the future generation and so teachers have to be prepared to put in hard work and dedication to helping the pupils in their care.

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          11.08.2006 21:47
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          A great job, but you have to love working with children.

          I have been teaching for a couple of years now, after going back to Uni to do a PGCE. It was the most difficult year of my life, because the course is so difficult and I had to live on toast for nine months. However, becoming a primary teacher is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Lots of people are trying to get into teaching now, because the pay is competitive, and the holidays are good. If that's your only motivation then you should probably forget about it. When you are in the classroom it is so important that you love what you do. Here are some of the pros and cons of teaching.

          PROS

          *Working with children.
          Yes, they can drive me nuts at times. Like when their teeth fall out, and they shove them in your face as if they are holding an olympic gold medal. Or when you ask a maths question, and the child you pick to answer tells you that their budgie has just died. Life is the classroom is never dull! Seriously though, as a primary teacher you are a really important person in a child's life. Plus, you can sing and dance around the room like a moron, and they don't laugh they just join in. Whatever you do, the kids think is great!

          *Salary
          I don't scoff at what I get paid, because I've been out there and done my fair of crappy jobs, getting paid peanuts. I do, however, think that teachers should get paid more for what we do.

          *Holidays
          Always off for Christmas, and a good break in the summer. The reality is that you always end up doing work in your holidays though.

          *Variety
          No two days are ever the same. This was a major selling point of the job for me, as I get bored very easily. I can spend an afternoon pretending to be a pirate in drama, or out in the garden looking for mini-beasts while pretending not to be scared

          CONS

          *Discipline
          Have you ever seen "The Omen"? Damien lives and there is more than one of him. Believe me.

          *Workload
          You get paid for 35 hours a week, but work plenty more than that. Don't expect to sleep when reports are due!

          *You are a teacher 24 hours a day
          You see children running around in supermarkets and want to reprimand them immediately. You go for a walk with your friends, but you trail behind because you are picking up leaves and other fascinating things for the classroom. Your mates laugh at you for using the phrase "dreadful behaviour" when discussing Big Brother housemates.

          *You've got to be a jack of all trades
          Expect to be a mum, nurse, artist, musician, athlete, actress, scientist, writer - you get the idea. Be prepared for juggling lots of balls, and not in a fun sexual sort of way.

          If this sounds like the job for you, then it will require a spell at university. In scotland you can do a four year B Ed course, or if you have already graduated, you can do the one year PGCE. It can be quite difficult to get onto the course, so try to get some experience in a school first as it will help your application. In England I believe you get paid around £6000 to do a PGCE, but no funding in Scotland I'm afraid, although you will get your fees paid for you and you will be eligible for a student loan - hurrah!!!

          I go back to school on Thursday, where i'll be faced with a Primary One class for the first time. Twenty seven children aged between four and five. I'll probably aquire a couple more grey hairs this year, (I'm 26, I'm just not ready to go grey!) and tear a lot out too, but I'm sure I'll have some fun along the way. Best job in the world, it really is.

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            08.05.2004 10:41
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            I have a new job now. I am presently teaching 5th and 6th grade elementary school pupils. I lost my job at the show store for selling narcotics to the customers and I needed a new job. So here I am. First I better explain what a Charter School is. Charter schools are a new trend in maerican education. It is part and parcel with tax funded vouchers, the idea being that educational choises are best for the students by having a number of competing schools will make education better for everyone involved. In states that allow charter schools what happens is that any person can dream up a uniqu basis for a charter school and apply for a charter. In NYC there are many charter or magnet schools, there are fine arts focused schools, foreign language, minority, all boys, all girls, even a school for homosexuals. My niece and nephew attend a school that is chartered based on being no frills, bare basics and small class sizes (15 students per class). Interestingly enough the people that get a charter essentially are doing education for profit, they get a stipend for each student for what funcing the regular schools would get for having the brats. If you buy cheap materials, cut out any extras, give them chintzy lunches and make them share books and have the, sit on rough hewn picnic tables stolen from the parks department storage shed, you can make a lot of money, especially by not having teachers aides, a school nurse, counseling and support services and make the teachers clean their own rooms instead of hiring a custodian. Plus you hire the most inexperienced new young teachers with no seniority so you can pay them much less. Keep uin mind all this is supposed to be for the students own good. So we needed a charter. Most of the good novel ideas were taken. I knew that even a mediocre idea could be supported if I crossed enough palms with silver. Let me explain my schools charter. Basically most educated people know that left handed people ar
            e evil. That the 12% of left handed people are evil is a proven scientific fact. Look at all the terrible people that are left handed Hitler, Stalin, Bush senior, Bill Clinton, Judas Iscariot, Pol Pot Idid Amin, Jimi Hendrix. Left handers like to brag that half the astronauts have been left handed and that LH have an average IQ of 106 vs the normal 100, due to their constant mental challenge of coping in a right handed world. What they don't tell you is that they quickly learn to hate the rest of society and quit trying to fit in and reject our RH culture. A LH person is 400% more likely to be gay or bisexual and their propensity to commit crimes is extraordinary. What got me to start learning about the LHers and educating others about them was an informal brekfast I had with a police detective I went to school with. He sometimes likes to pick my brain about strange crimes involving occult related themes or Xfiles type things. He was describing a particularily heinous homicide involving children and I casually asked if they had analyze the blood patterns and wounds to ascertain if the perp was right handed or left handed. This detective laughed right in my face and told me that doing so would be a waste of time and resources. I was shocked, astounded, appalled. I wanted to scream at him, asking how he could have that attitude, he pre-empted my concern by explaining, "It is a waste of time since in such brutal treacherous crimes it is a given that the perp is left handed, they are the only people that do such things." That started my study of these evil people which culminated in my becomming the worlds for most expert on rehabilitating left handers. I pioneered the use of electroshock therapy using electrified acupuncture needles and a minor brain surgury that can be conducted through the nose that has a 98% success rate of ending left handedness. At any rate we decided to start a charter school based on serving left hand
            ed st udents that would not only provide them with a basic education while rehabilitating them turning them right handed and instilling discipline. We basically are striving to keep these kids off the street until they are old enough to imprison in regular prisons. We basically promise to beat these kids down and instill fear into them to keep them on the straight and narrow and keep them with thier own kind so they can not be in regular school ruining it for all honest decent right handers. I don't really have any skills as an educator and if I had educatable students I would be ashamed of my credentials. But what I can do is instill the fear of death into these little punks. Basically I start off the day with rigorous physical exercise to wear these punks out and take a lot of wind out of their sails. I make them run 5 miles carrying their back packs filled full of rocks. You would be surprised how little mischief even the worst of children will get into when he's all tuckered out. Then they look at books, of their own choosing while I read the morning paper. Then I turn on the education channel for a couple hours and let them watch while I surf the web and check my e-mail. Then we have lunch which is the same every day, a little apple, a peanut butter sandwich and a handful of chips and a can of Sams choice root beer (no caffeine). Then I take them out for gym class where we use the left handed baseball gloves and then we have arts and crafts where they use their left handed scissors. I just give them glue and construction paper or crayons and watch what the make. Most of the time they make scarry stuff that you only usually make at halloween in a normal classroom. Then we have bible time. Then I decide which of these punks has been the worse that day and pick a fight with him. Then we do Spanish lessons, meaning I turn on a mexican soap opera for an hour while I take a nap. Then sometimes we do math, or science or geography if I feel like
            it. Basi cally I just give them discipline. It is a good job. I get the whole summer off, I get paid $26,000 and I don't have to do anything. Full time pay for part time work. Update, Lookaroundcafe2 brought up a very germane point in a comment so I need to respond. He asked if I teach to the test for the SAT test. I could care less about that test, these brats have 6 more years until they hear of that test and there is enough degrees of separation for me until then. But what I do have to worry about is the CAT test hich is teh california achievement test. As a charter school we are under heavy scruntiny from the State as far as these standardized tests go, unfortunately it isn't good enough for mammon that we are taking these evil thugs out of normal schools and they need "results". So anyways all kids across the state take this CAT test. I don't talk with many other teachers, I smoke too many gitanes for them to tolerate in the teachers lounge plus this one young female teacehr had a isunderstanding with me that resulted in a civil protection order, blah, blah, blah, I am older than her and know better than she does what she needs. Anyways it is a big dilema to teachers whether or not to teach to the test, meaning just giving the students the knowledge based on what will be on the test. They really act tortured over this moral question. But the cool thing about it is that we proctor the tests, collect the tests and then turn them in to the state. Bing Bong, hello???? So that week is very expensive for me, first I have to buy a bunch of crossword puzzle books and word search books for them to do while the other studenets take tests (they need to be able to talk about their test booklets) in case they have younger siblings at the school or something or one of these nosy parents is asking them stuff. Then I go down to the public house and buy a ton of drinks for my mates and we have to go through and fill out all these little
            circles and dots on the score cards making it look like an 8 year old did it. It is a lot of work, but it beats getting a real job. What I got to be careful of is my mate Randy was getting some Dutch courage and decided to actually take the test for little Holly and the dummy got her held back for a year even though she was my brightest student.

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              12.07.2002 05:42
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              As most of you will know, my main function at school is as SENco (Special Educational Needs coordinator) but once a year I get to do what, in my opinion, is one of the best jobs in the school calendar year. I get to train the athletics squad, and take them to compete against the other schools in the borough, at the annual District Sports meeting. Now before I go any further, let me dispel all notions that I am even slightly athletic! Initially, I got the job purely because nobody else wanted it, and as I don’t have a class as such, it was felt that I had more time to devote to it! Huh!! So about seven years ago, I reluctantly took on the mantle of athletics manager because I couldn’t bear to see the disappointment on the faces of those children if they had been withdrawn from the competition! We are a small school, with only one class in each year. We compete against all the other schools, of all sizes, across the borough. The kids have to put up with me training them, considering I have very little experience of how to change batons, and in fact, won’t even run for a bus. Correction: CAN’T even run for a bus!! But let me tell you, that no school could have as much fun as we do! We begin as soon as it is dry enough and warm enough to use the school field. At least, that is the theory! In practice, we can’t really begin until after Year 6 SATs are over, because I am heavily committed to those. So in practice, we don’t get going until around the 20th May. That’s if it stops raining, and the men have been to cut the grass and paint on the white lines! Usually they manage to do it base upwards! One lot comes and paints the lines, and then the next lot come and cut the grass! I kid you not. It happens at least once every year. Anyway, the whole of the junior section of the school descend on the field one sunny afternoon to run off each class to find the fastest in each. Unfortunately,
              the nature of the athletics meeting means that many are disappointed, but that part is beyond my control. Each school is limited to 2 sprinters and a relay team for each year, plus a medley relay team (one child from each of the years making up the relay team) and one 200-metre runner. Double this for boys and girls, add a few reserves, and it amounts to approximately 45 children. Then begins the lunchtime training. For 3 weeks or more, I do not get a dinner break of any note, as I am out on the field endeavouring to get the baton round the circuit in some reasonable sort of fashion. I will say here, that although I sometimes moan about it, in actual fact, I enjoy doing it. And our kids are pretty good on the whole. Two or three days prior to the track meeting, we run the kids off again to ascertain who will be running in the sprints, the relays and the 200 metres, and who will be the reserves. At all times, we emphasise the importance of the reserves. Indeed, on a number of occasions we have had to call on the services of the reserves at the last minute. All the squad get to go to the stadium, whether they are running or not. On the day of the meeting, we gather up the squad at mid-day, and make the 20-minute journey to the stadium by coach. Another member of staff comes (thank goodness!) to take on an official role in the centre of the field. I’ve trained them, so I don’t see why I should give up watching and cheering for them by having to take on an official job! We also take a classroom assistant with us to deal with minor first aid. This is usually the mum of someone taking part! We have our lunch at the stadium, and then the children go out on the track for a warm up. For a few years, we were lucky enough to have a family with relatives who trained at the track, and we managed to arrange a Sunday get together on the track prior to the children running. Yes, this meant giving up a Sunday, but hey, as you can
              tell, by now I was hooked! Now I have already stated that ours is a small school. In some classes, I have been limited to less than a dozen children to choose at least 6 runners from. Some schools have 3 classes for each year, giving them sometimes up to 40 children to choose from! As you can guess, some of the children that run for our school wouldn’t get a look in at another. However, I can honestly say that my kids are so enthusiastic that what they lack in many ways, they make up for in others. We have fantastic parental support too. In fact, I make a point each year of creating at least 2 special parents certificates, which they really enjoy. I say with no word of a lie, that the vocal support from “our lot” always overshadows any support from any other team. And I confess here, that their manager is probably the most vocal of them all! In fact, this year, I was glad I wasn’t at school the following day, as I had totally lost my voice! But what the hell! The kids are there to enjoy themselves, and so am I! Let me tell you about this year’s athletics. We began with 16 sprinters. Two boys and two girls from each year. 10 of those got through to the semi finals. We had eight relay teams. 3 got through to the semi finals. Our two 200 metre runners (and for 11 year olds, 200 metres is a very gruelling distance) just missed out on the semis. The whole squad cheered and yelled, patted each other on the back, whether they’d come 1st or 6th, and generally had a thoroughly enjoyable time. So did their manager! We returned the following week for the semis and finals. Last year, we had one boy sprinter who was the borough champion, and one relay team. The year before we had one relay team. So this year, we were out to defend those titles and hopefully improve on them. After the semis we had 4 sprinters and 2 relay teams through to the finals, which were run on the same day. Thi
              s meant that some children had 4 races in the one afternoon, in both sprint and relays. The finals began, and our Year six boy defended his title by winning again this year! Our section of the spectators went totally wild. Our Year six girl finalist ran well to finish 5th in the borough. Next came our Year 5 girl sprinter. Last year she came 3rd in the final. Cheered on by all those present, with determination written all over her, she sped down the track and finished first! Another champion, and only 4 races run! In the next race, our Year 4 boy sprinter cam 4th, after running superbly. We now had a long wait till the final 2 races; the medley boys relay and the medley girls. The boys were defending the title they have held for the past 2 years, and despite the third leg almost dropping the baton (so they informed me later!) they romped home in the lead. By now we were almost hoarse, and not one of the team had left to go home, even though it was past school finishing time. The medley girls were in the last race, and finished second. So concluded a very successful district sports meeting, and it was off to the trophy shop and back to the PC to print out the certificates. Now why is this annual event one of my favourite things? Firstly, because it gives me great pleasure to take these kids out for 2 very enjoyable afternoons. Of course, I also get 2 afternoons out of school, but considering how tired I am at the end of it, I don’t think that counts! Secondly, if you could see the team camaraderie that exists throughout the whole team, how each member supports all the others, how they congratulate and commiserate, encourage and back each other, you would know why it is one of my favourite things! It’s at times like this I really love my job. A third reason is maybe slightly obscure. It is with a deep sense of pride that I watch these kids. Comparing them with some of the other schools, their behaviour,
              and whole attitude is really something to see. We have our fair share of rogues, but they always come up trumps when taken out. This is a reflection on their parents as well as on the school, and at times like this, you can see the underlying community spirit of the whole school “family” for want of a better word! It also gives me an opportunity to let my hair down after a stressful run up to SATs, and believe me, do I let it down! And it’s rewarding to have the parents’ backing and support, and appreciation, even although I’m not doing it for that reason! It also gives my Special Needs kids the same opportunity as the others to succeed. Indeed, many of my kids are excellent athletes, and this is their chance to shine. It’s wonderful to see their faces when they return to our section of the ground, whether they’ve qualified or not. And for me, that makes it all worthwhile. My hubby is the “official” photographer, and takes loads of pics of the kids running, from which I make a display for the end of term Parents’ Evening. The parents order prints, and from the money collected, we have recently purchased smart new kits for the squad, including tracksuits. Yes, I have to spend time printing them out, and yes I have to spend time collecting in the kits, arranging for parents to wash them, and packing them all away for the following year. But I wouldn’t NOT do it for all the tea in China. Annual District Sports is one of my favourite things, and will be for many years to come. ********************************************* Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined
              dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."

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                11.07.2002 22:42
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                In 1994 I went to my mum's graduation ceremony at the Barbican in London. I don't suppose many children get to see their parents graduate from university, so it was a very special day and I do feel quite privileged. My mum is a teacher, you see. She qualified when she was 42. She proved that if you work hard and follow your dreams you do get somewhere, and it's never too late to give something a go. I hope that her story is of inspiration to someone. I also hope it can be of some use even though I have no direct experience of teaching myself. Mum left school at sixteen without any O Levels. I think she may have been a bit of a wild child - though that's something she stringently denies. She married my dad 26 or 27 years ago, something like that. They were hippy parents, and very good ones. She always seemed to be interested in people's welfare and wellbeing, and when my sister and I were at school she had a part-time job working in a day centre for people with Alzheimer's Disease. She also worked with special needs children at some point, and she was always brilliant with kids. Mum decided to train as a teacher when she was in her thirties. She had no qualifications, of course - but she must have known she could do it. They say you're born into teaching and I think they're right because my mum is a natural. The road towards becoming a teacher was a long and hard one, beginning with night classes at the local college. I remember swathes and swathes of paper, exams and a lot of studying in the lounge as she embarked on an Access course, an intensive two-year preparation for a degree designed with people like mum in mind. I think she may also have taken a couple of O levels before this course - there seemed to be so much studying that I can't really remember! Somehow she still managed to be a good mum. A brilliant mum. I think it must be another thing at which she is a natural. Sh
                e would help my sister and I with schoolwork, problems with friends, problems with teachers - everything that mothers do. Eventually she enrolled at Kingston University to do a BEd degree. There were a few other mature students there, too, and I remember meeting quite a few of them. With the degree came teaching practice (I did say it was a long road!) and eventually my mum got a job at a primary school. She has been there ever since and has been headhunted for senior positions by several different schools in the area. So what's it like? Well, some of the popular views about teaching are completely nonsensical. People ramble on about long holidays, shorter hours and the like - but I can assure you that half term can be manic, with lesson plans spread out on the table and lots of marking to be done - and teachers most certainly do not work 9 to 3, and probably not even 9 to 5 in many cases! The job isn't always easy either. Sometimes my mum would come home with teethmarks in her hand, lovingly dispatched by a difficult child. Sometimes she would have to resolve confrontations with parents. Sometimes it would be a (very) late night after a staff meeting or a parents' evening. Last night she got in at 10:30pm after the school's production of "Annie", and she'll be there tonight and tomorrow as well. Teachers are not "just" teachers. They sometimes also have to be counsellors, mediators, surrogate parents, administrators, diplomats, managers and several other things, all at the same time. It is one of the most demanding - and important - careers that I can think of. I think teachers are underrated and underpaid, especially when you think of the enormous salaries that some sportsmen can demand these days (and yes, I am a football fan). I've mentioned some of the pitfalls of teaching - but what about the good bits? There must be something in the job if it manages to attract talente
                d, dedicated people to work on what most would consider to be a pretty low starting salary. Well, you only have to see some of the letters and cards my mum gets throughout the school year to understand that the job does have its reward. Parents often write to her telling her how their difficult, awkward child has been transformed, and children themselves develop as people while they are in her class (some of them really do blossom) and are often quite sad to leave. As my mum's pupils have progressed through the school I'm sure their development has made her proud, and some of the little end-of-term thankyou cards they've made her really are quite touching. Children can be extremely unpredictable to work with but also immensely rewarding. As a teacher she has a huge responsibility: along with her colleagues, she is helping to shape a future generation. They say you never forget a good teacher and that's perfectly true. I remember two or three of my favourite teachers from over fifteen years ago, and I'd like to think that mum will be thought of in the same light when her charges grow up themselves. It's not a job I could do; I think my mother is an inspiration. She has supported my aunt, who also decided to train to be a teacher after having children of her own. She is at Kingston University herself now, in fact. Perhaps you are thinking about a career in teaching. Perhaps you've been in the world of work for a while, or maybe you're a parent yourself. If you have any doubts about whether someone with no qualifications can train to work in one of the most important fields there are then maybe you can look at the example my mum set and take heart. It's a challenging and diverse career, but if it's your dream then you should follow it, just like mum did. "Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and
                to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."

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                  25.04.2002 01:50
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                  What’s a school governor? **~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~** If you feel this opinion is in the wrong category please do not down rate it for that… there is no better place for it as yet. Thanks. >>Request is now in for school governor category<< **~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~** I have been a school governor, both at primary level and at secondary level, for some 13 odd years now and enjoy it tremendously. At primary level I have been the chair of governors for all but 6 months of my time there. I feel that school governors offer a service to schools that is on par with, as well as complimentary to, a teacher, hence the area I have placed this opinion. I first thought about becoming a school governor while my children were at primary school, soon after my accident that left me disabled. I felt that there must be something I could still do that would be of use to someone and offer something to the community where I live. I was very aware that I would not work again but at the age of 38 sure as heck didn’t feel, or accept, I had no use anymore. This is when I read a letter, sent home from the school, asking for nominations for parent governors. I knew little of the role, my only real knowledge of it was from my school days where they were people we considered VIP visitors that walked around the school once in a while, and to some degree that is still how many see them. I happen to feel this is okay because the role of a governor is not to get noticed, or to be seen as something or someone special, it is to help in any way you can. Of course there are still some people that have the title of “school governor” because it sits well on their CV or sounds right when chatting among friends, but, thank goodness, this kind of person is now in the small minority. As I say I see this role as one of support and help but, due to added powers, handed down by government, the role is fast becoming
                  more and more like a job, or profession, and the responsibility levels have grown every year. Indeed it is the governing body at all schools that is now the employer, or the schools named authority. Despite handing much of this responsibility down to the head teacher it is the governors themselves that are now asked to answer for many of the problems we read about day after day. It is also the governing body that has the job of interviewing, employing and accounting for the head and deputy head teachers in the school, a very important factor in any school. Of course it is the head teacher that runs the school day to day but it is the governing body that is held to account if they get it wrong, despite being the only non paid, generally unqualified, people within the system. This makes the role very important and, to some degree, unattractive too. There are massive shortages of governors around the country now and I feel it is because of the weight of responsibility laid on them. Long gone have the days where you were only asked to attend sports days, assemblies and special events, now it is a case of attending quite a lot of meetings that tend to run on for 2 or 3 hours sometimes. The governing body also has a very major part to play when a school is inspected, by OFSTED or such, and in planning the future following this. However there are many good things that come from being a governor too. I started, as I say, because it was something I saw I could do but soon became captivated by the warmth that is felt inside a happy school. The team spirit that runs within the teachers, the desire to learn that the children have, the strength that the parents show when supporting their school and the way the a school stretches out to the community around it. There is no doubt that the feeling you get inside a school is special, something that is hard to explain but is wonderful to feel and be a part of. Despite everything we read teachers are as dedicated today as th
                  ey ever were, many, indeed most, spend many hours, of their own time, working with the children outside of school lesson. This same dedication is present among all the other staff that a school needs to run too, assistants, dinner ladies, cooks, caretakers etc. and certainly among governors. The main role of a governor is still one of support, a role that can help ease some of the pressure placed on staff by added paperwork, policy making and budget planning and to this end the role can be very satisfying. In both the schools where I am a governor the staff make me feel very much part of the team, and very much a part of the school and because of this I find I feel wanted, of worth and useful. Many say the role of a governor is as a “critical friend”, I feel this is not the right description. I feel it is a role of a friend, a partner or an ear to listen and offer suggestions. I certainly feel that unless everyone feels comfortable with each other then there is never going to be anything constructive. Therefore the first thing I feel any governor must do is respect the fact that the staff at the school are the professionals and work with them, learn from them and never assume a role above them. There is a great deal a school governor can help with but there are also very fine lines between helping and instructing. I also believe that as a school governor the staff should be certain of your support, no matter what. If things go wrong then they need to be righted but that should be done privately. I have found that I want to support, protect and guard those I am lucky enough to help and even when things have to be said, things that could normally be confrontational they get said, and sorted in a friendly way. Here are just some of the things governors are expected to answer for, or do…. Interview and appoint the Head and Deputy Head teachers. Assist the head in appointing their staff. Assist and approve all school polici
                  es, and there are a great number of these. Assure that discipline among the children and staff is dealt with. Assure that the national curriculum is taught. Prepare and approve the schools budget. Visit the school and observe classes in action. Keeping the buildings and grounds maintained. Dealing with any staffing matters relating to discipline. And the list goes on forever, literally. Of course there are advisers that can be brought in, but also have to be paid for from the budget, which helps ensure all the legal requirements are met. But even this can be fun and rewarding, if a tad boring. You see, despite offering to do all of this, for free, there are a great many things that help you forget that last meeting that ran on forever. Things like hearing a child laugh, seeing children playing together, watching a school play where even the quietest of child speaks out with great confidence. Sitting in a classroom and watching the look of joy on a child’s face when they suddenly understand what it is the teacher is saying, seeing their chest puff with pride as they answer a math question right. On top of that there is the feeling when a teacher says thank you for everything you do. A feeling that sends a warm feeling deep inside your heart, a feeling that says, ”Yes I am helping” “Yes I am making a difference” and the feeling that says “I am enjoying being a small part of all of this.” You see helping others while not looking for, or expecting, any reward is, in itself, rewarding. By being a governor at both levels of education I get to see the follow up from primary to secondary, I get to watch the children grow, from a 5yr old child into a 16yr old young adult. I get to see the benefit of everything and I know our education system works. I would urge anyone that might be thinking of becoming a governor to go for it. Maybe ask to attend a meeting or two first and see what really goe
                  s on after school closes to the children. Being a governor really does benefit the children in our schools today and despite all the responsibility and time it really is a special thing to do. There are several types of governors, as far as they come from, or are appointed by, different agencies or groups. There are parent governors, they are voted on to the board by the parents alone. There are co-opted governors; these tend to be local business people, or people working in specialist areas, that are appointed by the board. There are governors appointed by the local education authority and there are also governors that are appointed by the local council, churches and by the staff. No matter where they are appointed from they all have one thing in common, they are doing it because they want to and they all want to do the best they can to make sure every child gets the best education possible.

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                    13.12.2001 13:48
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                    I write this not as a teacher, but as someone who is married to one. Anyway, she would never have found the time to write it! I suppose, if Dooyoo had a Members Advice section on Good Partners, I should file this under a "Never Marry A Teacher, Unless You are One" category Under no circumstances ask the usual "Good day at work, dear?" - I did once and I DIDN'T get away with it! You do, however learn to nod in all the right places. Another no-no is to BECOME a teacher yourself unless you enjoy:- Having a jolly good moan. Paying through the nose for holidays, because, guess what - yours are during school holidays. Sniffing Copydex. Don't even bother, it smells of pee. Having 8-year-olds telling you to **** off, and having no sanction that means anything to counter such behaviour. Having parents tell you that they are not happy with the standard of language in the school, after their own 8-year-old told them to **** off. A 50-50 chance of having to put up with completely shiftless caretakers. In my wife's experience, they fall into two categories. The complete "diamond", and the idle bastard. The middle ground seems to elude the education system. Photocopying, or worse, dealing with other forms of copier that you are supposed to reload with a carcinogen, or depleted uranium oxide, or something equally hazardous! Having to work when the heating has failed (again) or having to work through an “Indian Summer” with the heating on. Thanks to the repainting done during the summer break, ALL the valves will be jammed full on. Shouting as an Olympic event Working throughout the weekend on "planning", marking, licking-and-sticking and other meaningful activities like cutting wobbly lines around kid’s work before mounting the said wobbly bits onto backing paper, OH YES, and learning to
                    jump through the latest governmental hoop which will have changed again by this time next year. Hearing about your profession on 50% of news bulletins. As the ad campaign ran "Everyone remembers a good teacher" - unfortunately, they also remember where you live. Make no mistake, the behavioural problems that we all envision as being unique to teenagers are here to stay in 7 year-olds. My wife's school's staff consists of Newly Qualified teachers in their first job, half of whom are thinking of jacking it in, career changers who are thinking of changing back, and experienced teachers who, despite the damage they will do to their pension, are seriously considering supply work (or anything remotely legal) to get out from under the ever-growing class and management responsibilities. Being expected to "put on a show at Christmas" because as we know “the kids get such a lot out of it”, and whilst on the subject of Christmas, the very worst job of all...... Organising the staff "do"! Ideally, you need a venue that is foreign and is not foreign, is up-town but local, and which is pricier than usual but cheap. You know, somewhere where you can push the boat out and haul it back in again at the same time! To be fair, a lot of this depends on the area you work in and the leadership at the specific school. As I see it, the big danger, after the euphoria of breezing through your interview (ask yourself why this was) is to find that you become one of the disillusioned NQT's wondering why the hell you didn't go into whatever it was your Dad suggested. How you are supposed to research the vital subject of where to grace with your obvious talents, before applying for a specific post is anyone's guess. Schools are hardly likely to wear their behavioural problems like a badge - I suppose "challenging post" would be a clue thou
                    gh! My own experience of working (in Safety Education) with 11 year-olds in a different borough tells a vastly different story, as most have been great fun to work with, especially when it's something different and they want to do it. My wife is now looking for a job there too!

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                      31.08.2001 02:10
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                      • "Can be / is tough!"

                      In the wake of the mass headlines about teacher shortages and the status of the profession, combined with some reader’s recent opinions and comments, I would like to talk some more about the teaching profession. As a secondary school teacher who is clocking up nearly three years experience, I find it unfortunate that continued negative media coverage and portrayal tends to blight the profession and would like to give my reasons as to why teaching is a positive but can be misconstrued as a negative career. Within this, by nature, I would find it preferable to veer towards the positive wherever possible. This is something that is rarely ever done in the media as too much negativity already shrouds the profession – it sells papers and knocks the stuffing out of people some more. I also don’t want to talk about governmental issues too much here. Of course the government has knocked education in a thousand places. Of course it has demoralised teachers and wrecked the most common fundamentals of education. Of course the government has work to do in almost all the areas I am going to talk about. That is accepted. Anything else would be an understatement. A lot of people tend to have a certain feeling about teachers. Let’s face it, whenever you meet a teacher you always have a certain reaction to it – well, I know I do. This is probably because for each one of us we still have a ‘feeling’ buried about teachers in our very own psyche. After all, we are all experts in education and we have all be ‘taught’ something at one point or another. As a secondary school teacher, I still feel that to be in teaching is a privilege, it is only ‘other’ teachers, the media and ‘individuals’ that take away this feeling. Part of reasons for still seeing teaching in a positive light (against the dark shroud of its problems) probably comes from the fact of having had another &
                      #8216;profession’ first. Less than five years ago I had what you may call a ‘glamorous’ media and marketing career. I worked in London and New York and despite working hard, compared to teaching I had many perks; money, bonus incentives, travelling, hotels, wining, dining and wooing excursions, etc. This said, marketing bored me and I wanted to have a more meaningful life. I thought about teaching because it was always something I wanted to do in the back of my mind. I already had a good degree so I happily ‘dropped’ out of marketing and went for it. Now, starting my third year of teaching, I’m glad I did. It was the best ‘career’ move I ever made – so why do people, institutions, ‘other’ teachers, etc. tell me I was wrong. When these ‘other’ teachers (normally older teachers) learn that I have already had another career, they tell me I am ‘mad’ to teach. I’d still really like to know ‘why’. The positive things I feel about teaching are many. Normally it’s about the kids. Maybe it is because I’ve had another career first (or maybe it’s because I’m naïve as people say – I don’t know), but after I’ve been in a classroom all day I do feel I’ve achieved something – that said and I don’t teach ‘easy’ kids. The feeling I get from teaching is amazing and compared to my last career it is astounding – I really would go that far. Marketing closed me in a tiny world of meaningless rubbish, but with teaching I come home and can look forward instead of backwards – all in all that is the major plus-point for me. All this is the thing that ‘I’ get from teaching that I didn’t get before. I devotedly believe in education – but again society says it’s so wrong to do so. Below, for ease of reading, I have attempted to list other subject matter rele
                      vant to teaching and my views towards them. In no particular alphabetical order these are: 1. Pay OK, so I personally earn less money than I did – or do I? Admittedly, marketing put more money in my bank account than this job but that doesn’t really bother me. The positives and the opportunities in education far outweigh the money for me. Anyway, pro rata I actually earn more money than my salary – as far as I’m concerned I have thirteen weeks holiday and I give myself thirteen weeks holiday – does this happen in other professions – does this actually shift my salary up? I think so. 2. Conditions The conditions in this job are tough and who can deny that? Still, it is a teacher’s decision to either stay in or leave teaching. While the government has blood on its hands here and could do a lot to change schools into better places (and while ‘parents’ could change kids into better kids – yes, I know that will never happen!), other jobs have difficult conditions too. As far as I’m concerned people have a choice to where and with whom they work and instead of complaining about it they should always remember that they have this choice and get on with it as the case may be. 3. Administration Teachers often complain about doing their ‘admin’, writing reports (of all natures), marking, filling in threshold pay material, etc. saying that all this admin defies the teaching nature of their job. You name it – I’ve heard it. Sorry folks but all jobs are about admin. I know all this stuff takes time but again it is part of the job. I go into school an hour early every morning and stay for another two hours afterwards completing my files, planning, etc. I don’t complain about it, I expect it – I see it as normal for any profession and I just make sure I get it done. 4. Opportunities Again, this
                      is another area where teachers (particularly older and often more experienced teachers) can tend to ignore the black and white of fact. Education in its wider sense can offer people great career opportunities even if people think differently. Although education in this country remains a fairly un-commercial sector, the experienced teacher has transferable skills that can be transplanted into other areas as the need arises, such as educational management, lecturing, teacher training, local government, advisory, etc. On top of this, the average teacher’s wealth of skills, essentially ‘management’ coupled with strong administrational skills are often highly regarded and sought after by industry at home and abroad. So why is it that teachers often think they have no choices? So why do teachers who desire no future in teaching see no future? Teaching does not doom itself exclusively to teaching but is rather one of the most transferable and beneficial sectors you can work in. Talk about job security! Ok – I’ve finished this now, but I’ve just tried to sell teaching for right and wrong here. The negativity attached to this profession really does berate me especially because I feel that much of it is ‘shallow’ and very ‘hyped’ negativity. I wish all teachers well and wish that more ‘happiness’ prevailed in the profession. I’d hate to be labelled as a right wing, conformist person for writing this and I am conscious that any illustrated devotion to the job can be misconstrued in times like these. I am a happy, silly, bubbly, mellow, humanitarian and, in fact, fairly left-wing person, but these are my strict views about teaching and being a teacher. I hope you can empathise with them. Thanks for reading!

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                        20.06.2001 16:37
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                        I am currently studying for a geography degree and have every intention of taking aPCGE for secondary education after this. I have always wanted to be a teacher as I believe that it is both a job that I will enjoy and that I can excel in. But I have to admit that I am starting to have second thoughts because I am scared to enter a profession where you have everybody against you from the start. It is no wonder that graduates are running scared from the profession as at the moment children have more power than the teachers, which is surely wrong? A recent example is the case of Catherine Brandley who was convicted of assualt on a nine year old child, from only the testimony of that child.I firmly believe that the childrens act is essential and that children need protecting but come on people lets have some common sense here!No jury would normally convict from a "it's your word against mine" situation and anyone who has children or works with them will accept that nine year olds can create better stories than even Charles Dickens! Teachers now have no power to discipline, or even any forms of discipline that actually have an affect on the child, and they are not even allowed to teach properly in case their style of teaching offends race, religion, gender, age or whatever else people can come up with. All I ask is that people stop being so naive- if children are told off, suspended etc it is for a good reason not because the teacher doesn't like the child or the family. Parents need to accept some or all the blame for misbehaving children instead of demanding that the teacher is wrong and insisting that it is them who should be disciplined and not their little angel! We desperately need teachers so come on people lets start supporting the educational profession instead of damning it all the time!

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