As a secondary teacher of History and Archaeology who, at present, is perpetually angered by the apathy and ignorance of what is a vital issue that will affect the futures of our children, I feel it is time for change. No, not another rant arguing for the immediate resignation of the Secretary of State for Education (although it would be acceptable), nor for a rethink of the proposed pay structure or pensions of teachers. Not even a radical shake-up of the Education Ministry and ill-advised, shambolic inspectors at Ofsted. No, the people who need to change are the Unions. Every time I see a union representative on television barking out the party line of pay, pensions, workload and stress, I don’t see a person who is representing me and our predicament. I see, in truth, a politician in a different guise who feels they are better placed trying to be something than actually do something.
I won’t lie and tell you that the terms and conditions of teaching and their proposed amendments don’t concern me because they do. I’m 6 years into what will now be a 37 year career where I have to remain focused and energised in a profession that is both rewarding and draining at the same time. I understand that if the workload continues to increase at its current rate, we could potentially begin to see the rare sight of teachers expiring in service more often. Strong sentiments, you may think but many of my colleagues are at breaking point. However, my present concern is the potentially irreparable damage being done to the education system as a whole through ill-perceived ideas of a ‘Golden Era’ of schooling that we should hark back to at break-neck speed.
And this is where my issue with the Unions comes in to play. As I mentioned earlier, they are not representing me or many of my colleagues who took the path of teaching to educate the children of our nation and give them the benefits of the best education we can deliver. We are being stopped from doing this. This in itself rankles more with the teaching profession than pay and pensions and if it doesn’t it should. The unions are therefore, at least in my case, out of touch. They market and publicise their anger and distaste at the detraction of the economics and welfare sides of teaching and in doing so alienate those very people who we should be trying to get on our side, the public. Why there is nobody at the Unions who can see that, by shouting it from the rooftops that they are there to protect the education system of this country, of which the pupils and teachers are part, is truly baffling. Through doing this, surely popular support would increase as would unrest at the segregation and politicising of the education system in this country. A child’s chances in life and education should not be made any more uneven than it already can be , nor should children ever be politicised but it’s happening and it seems few are doing anything to stop it.