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Teach Now: do you think it can succeed?

(91 Posts)
OCSockOrphanage Tue 22-Nov-16 10:14:11

Lucy Kellaway, currently an associate editor and top columnist at the Financial Times, is at 57 preparing to retrain as a maths teacher in an inner city school. She has set up Teach Now (modelled on Teach First) to attract people into teaching after successful corporate careers. She argues that she and they can afford to take the risk financially, many have good degrees in STEM subjects, and they have a lot to offer.

Having trodden a similar path and been rebuffed by every school I applied to I ask you whether school leadership teams will buy into this idea? After all, what could possibly go wrong?

noblegiraffe Tue 22-Nov-16 12:22:10

Shouldn't she have waited to see if she can actually hack it as a teacher first?

I'm sure she has a lot to offer, but the kids won't give a shit about her glittering CV if she can't control a class.

OCSockOrphanage Tue 22-Nov-16 13:29:04

a link

To be honest, I was rather wondering what SLTs would make of NQTs who once ran large chunks of international investment banks or companies, and vice versa.

Heirhelp Tue 22-Nov-16 16:14:52

I read this article and thought it will be very interesting to see what she thinks after completing her NQT year.

viques Tue 22-Nov-16 16:21:34

Heirhelp, I think you are being very positive, personally I can't see her lasting as long as getting to the end of an NQT year.

But if she thinks she can do it then good luck to her, I hope she doesn't find it too dispiriting when she is faced with a lower set maths group on a wet Friday afternoon. Teaching a difficult subject that you find easy to people who don't find it easy can be a hard slog.

noblegiraffe Tue 22-Nov-16 16:26:43

I've looked at the website

Interestingly, the teacher training year is only 4 days a week, and it says that it assumes teachers will also want a part time NQT year which I suppose makes it less physically demanding for an older teacher, but I'm not sure how that will work out in terms of timetabling.

It also says 'you can get up to 30k to train, and subject heads can earn 60k'

It doesn't mention that you're going to find it hard being a subject head earning 60k if you're only part time. I suppose if you're in a shortage subject like maths and you're used to management you could find yourself promoted to HOD very quickly, but that's pretty shit for the department because teaching experience is vital.

It's being run through the Ark academy training programme, which reminds me of the ongoing thread on AIBU about a trainee teacher desperate to quit the Ark academy training programme.

Cherrypi Tue 22-Nov-16 16:28:44

Teach first, teach now... teach please? I hope she writes about how hard it is.

Eolian Tue 22-Nov-16 16:35:12

I just can't imagine people who've had big, well-paid careers, with secretaries to do their menial stuff, fancy lunches, civilised meetings, etc etc putting up with the crap that goes with teaching. Quite aside from the fact that teaching is such a hard, at times thankless task, it's pretty damned unglamorous.

Eolian Tue 22-Nov-16 16:38:01

Also there's something a bit irritating about the idea that some big cheese thinks they can turn up and show us all where we've been going wrong by applying their corporate knowledge to the education system. If there's one thing education DOESN'T need, it's yet more businessification.

eviloops Tue 22-Nov-16 16:41:11

It's a brave move, that worthy of recognition; however teaching is a physical job in many ways, and highly demanding on your time and quickly can absorb most of your personal life, consuming around 60hours a week if you allow it to. I can't see this being sustained by someone who should be starting to look forward to their retirement years. I know I wouldn't make this choice at their age.

In addition, it experience and years of it to skill fully manage and juggle the demands of planning, teaching, assessing, behaviour managing, running extra curricular clubs etc and with time not being on your side, it may be a short career of fruitfulness, which is sad in many ways.

Interestingly, it will be insightful to see how SLT and school leaders manage such highly skilled, experience not who have come from high performing previous careers. I'm sure their life skills and precious experiences will be invaluable. I doubt Very much a subject leader could be paid 60k - even inner London assistant or deputies aren't in that amount.

I wish them well as this is a brave move.

AdrienneVole Tue 22-Nov-16 16:42:24

I don't see why it wouldn't work to be honest.

Eolian Tue 22-Nov-16 17:10:24

I can see lots of reasons why it wouldn't work. It's hard enough attracting people who don't currently earn big salaries to become teachers. Current teachers are scrambling to get out of teaching. Cuts in school budgets are massive. Kids are badly behaved. The government keeps moving the goalposts. Senior management are often unsupportive to teaching staff because they themselves are under huge pressure. Teaching is an increasingly awful job to be in. Why quit your highly-paid job to do it?

TalkingOwl Tue 22-Nov-16 17:52:30

I can't see how it will work. I think PPs have explained all the reasons why. Surely trying to retain and attract back exteachers is a better idea.

caroldecker Tue 22-Nov-16 18:02:25

The finance point is irrelevant - she has stated she is close to getting her pension and they are aiming at people who have enough money not to care about the salary.
I also don't think they are going in thinking the know it all - just that they 'crave the luxury of being useful'.

Eolian Tue 22-Nov-16 18:08:08

Well if I didn't care about salary at all, I'd sit on my butt be doing a bit of light voluntary work or something, or hire myself out to do a bit of consultancy in my field etc. I wouldn't touch teaching with a bloody bargepole. People who go into teaching because they have a (belated) yearning to do something useful after a long corporate career have possibly got a bit of a shock coming to them.

noblegiraffe Tue 22-Nov-16 18:23:24

What concerns me about this is similar to Troops to Teachers - how expensive per year of teacher we get out of it?

She is close to retiring. How much is it going to cost to train her for what, a few years?

Cosmicglitterghoul Tue 22-Nov-16 18:30:06

I've read her article in this subject. It all sounds very noble, but I can't help but be sniffy about it. Irrational it may be, but it feels a bit like someone 'business' is coming in and showing us how easy it all is. Or she'll come in and write about how it isn't at all easy and people will nod and agree after teachers have been saying that for years. That may well not happen, but it rankles me anyway!

Cosmicglitterghoul Tue 22-Nov-16 18:30:18


noblegiraffe Tue 22-Nov-16 18:35:14

I didn't get the impression that it was people in business coming in and showing us how to do it, I got the impression ('join the noblest of professions') that they see it as a bit of a charity job. Now I've made my fortune it's time to give something back to the community sort of thing.

Except if you do teaching to salve your conscience after years of raking in capitalist cash, I'm not sure you will last long.

Cosmicglitterghoul Tue 22-Nov-16 18:52:06

I suppose I said business because I associate well paid work with that industry. There's just something annoying about the whole thing that I can't put my finger on.

TalkingOwl Tue 22-Nov-16 19:09:48

I agree Cosmic. To me it feels like yet another way that teaching is being degraded as a profession. I know others may not agree but it takes time to become a really great teacher and I feel like teaching experience is not important to the government.

padkin Tue 22-Nov-16 19:25:51

padkin Tue 22-Nov-16 20:10:49

I think that in these desperate times, then why not try and recruit teachers from a new, albeit very niche market. The numbers will be very very small in the grand scheme of things, and its only making news, I would imagine, as she's got friends in journalistic high places.

From a personal point of view, I taught her children in a state primary many moons ago (her saying her daughter is now a teacher is making me feel particularly ancient). For what it's worth I thought her a hugely charismatic, interested and dynamic woman, who (if she has the energy) may well become a great teacher. But I think many people of her ilk will be HUGELY disillusioned by the amount of micro-management that now goes on in teaching. A friend who recently qualified as a teacher after life in 'business' was crushed by the lack of autonomy and control she had over what she did in the classroom, the stupidly time-consuming unnecessary paperwork and constant nit-picking scrutiny.

And at a time when it's rare to find a teacher over 50 in many many schools (though I think Primaries are worse for this) partly because schools won't/can't pay higher wages and partly because it's physically exhausting, then recruiting specifically from that age group is always going to be tough. I cannot imagine doing my job at 60. I don't think I could physically cope.

noblegiraffe Tue 22-Nov-16 20:43:35

The numbers will be very very small in the grand scheme of things,

Which is why I would want to know who is paying for this scheme?

MaybeDoctor Tue 22-Nov-16 21:22:00

I say, why not?

But IME everyone 'begins again at the beginning' in teaching.

As I was leaving my first school I made some supportive remarks to an incoming NQT - in her late 30s - encouraging her to seek support with workload if needed. She gave me a rather withering look and said that she wasn't expecting it to be a problem as she 'had worked in marketing'.

I met her in the street the following summer and she could not refrain from telling me how exhausted she was.

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