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Lucy Kellaway - not as good at teaching as she thought she’d be by now

(16 Posts)
noblegiraffe Thu 12-Apr-18 18:06:14

Lucy Kellaway is the high-profile financial journalist who was so convinced that going into teaching would be fab that she set up an entire training route (NowTeach) before training. She’s now on her training year and writing updates for the FT about how it’s going. This one takes her up to Easter.

She seems to be enjoying it and doing well, but gratifyingly has written this: “The disappointing news is that overall I am nowhere near the good teacher I want to be — or thought I would be. I continue to defy those FT readers who emailed 18 months ago when I announced I was leaving journalism to say: lucky kids, you’ll be a marvellous teacher.

Back then I privately agreed with them. I reasoned I would be a natural because I like performing. I’m resilient. I like teenagers. I like maths. I care about social mobility. I like the routine of schools. And I am frightening, so discipline would not be a problem. What else was there?

It turns out there is a great deal else.”

It is so nice to read someone who thought that they’d be a good teacher, and on paper looking like they should be a natural, admitting that actually it’s not as easy as they expected.

I really wish the DfE would wake up to the fact that new teachers really aren’t going to be fantastic immediately and that experience is valuable. And then look to retain teachers instead of frantically trying to replace them.

OP’s posts: |
AndhowcouldIeverrefuse Thu 12-Apr-18 18:16:11

Ah she is being quite honest isn't she? I read her Christmas update. Hats off - she is still there and she is keeping up some enthusiasm.

GHGN Thu 12-Apr-18 19:25:37

I followed her story since the beginning and I think she will be doing a good job if she is being honest to herself. The only problem I can think of is how long she can keep it up for. When I was an NQT and in the second year, I tried so many things and always aimed to be the best teacher that I could be. I thought I was a natural born teacher with promotions quickly followed.

Fast forward a few years later, I just want to leave work at school and can’t be bothered to do anything else at home. I still am looking forward to going back to work after a holiday but I have no enthusiasm for the job. I have plenty of good plans but they have been plans for a few years now.

FellOutOfBed2wice Thu 12-Apr-18 19:28:27

Very interesting- hadn’t heard of this so reading and passing on to DH who is also a teacher.

GHGN I feel like I could have written that last post. I had five amazing years and now I feel like I’ve peaked and am treading water a bit. I wonder actually if this is standard for most teachers.

thatone Thu 12-Apr-18 20:54:53

Thanks for the link OP, that was a very interesting read.

Cicera Thu 12-Apr-18 22:39:54

Good to see she's developing into a reflective practitioner wink

Piggywaspushed Fri 13-Apr-18 08:44:40

Meanwhile, a couple f weeks ago, I read an article in The Times about another high flier on the programme who had given up. In the end , very few will complete this programme. LK kind of has to, doesn't she!

physicskate Fri 13-Apr-18 09:04:55

ghgn I was similar. That's when I got put because I know the kids deserve more than someone burnt out and lacklustre like myself.

There is nothing so uninspiring as having to correct the spelling of 170 kids each week (in their exercise books) who have incorrectly copied off the board... and not just key/ vocab words... and being told by parents that my 'teaching style' is problematic, when in fact it's their child's behaviour that is problematic...

bandito Fri 13-Apr-18 12:44:57

I am at the same stage in my teacher training, except salaried through school direct as a career changer. The hardest thing for me has been going into a lesson with the thought "This is cool, why wouldn't you want to know about this?" to be met with "what's the actual point of learning this?" I have always thought of school learning as worthwhile for its own sake but (wait for it!) not all children are on board with this. I am slowly getting better but I am nowhere near as good as I would want to be and I find that frustrating.

Goldrill Sat 14-Apr-18 17:54:37

I'm an nqt. I spent six years at uni and many more getting the hang of my previous career. I have never been under any illusion that I will be any good as a teacher for some years.

This is not an unusual attitude in older nqts - there is a stereotype that we think we'll be just awesome from day one. It's really quite annoying.

What I AM good at are the transferables from parts of my previous job. I am perpetually surprised by many aspects of school employment and culture, and if I do ever rise through the ranks that's probably where I would most like to have influence.

ferriswheel Sat 14-Apr-18 17:59:34

This is a great thread. Off to read the link, back soon...

Piggywaspushed Sat 14-Apr-18 18:08:58

What aspects of employment and culture would you like to influence/change goldrill?

I don't think any NQT I have come across thinks they'll be awesome from day one : but certainly there seems to be a bit of arrogance amongst some of Kellaway's recruits ! Or possibly it's naivete rather than arrogance!

noblegiraffe Sat 14-Apr-18 19:23:58

Oh I don’t know about NQTs (they’ve possibly learned from their PGCE), but there are definitely plenty of people on MN who seem to be of the opinion that an NQT is at least as good as, if not better than an experienced teacher. So enthusiastic compared to the tired older teacher who merely knows what they are doing.

OP’s posts: |
wineoclockthanks Sat 14-Apr-18 21:45:21

Not read the whole thread cos been on the wine, but would like to say that her Mum was a fantastic English teCher !!

As you were

Changebagsandgladrags Sun 15-Apr-18 21:59:39

I am not expecting to be a good teacher at the end of my PGCE. I hope I will be an excellent student teacher though.

This is something that really worries me and I brought it up at my interview. You become good at a job through experience and learning from experienced people.

Sure, new blood will bring new ideas. But you need experience to say "no, that's a shit idea because x y and z"

I'm worried about going into an industry with such a rapid turnover and a high proportion of inexperienced staff. I am already mentally crossing off schools that advertise on TES saying they have a young workforce.

I'm prepared to work hard, but I ain't no expert...

GHGN Sun 15-Apr-18 23:02:44

FellOutOfBed2wice and physicskate I have moved school plenty of times just to refresh myself otherwise I would have stagnated for sure. I have had to move sector to get away from the things, which made the job boring. Not sure how long this will last though.

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