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AIBU?

Not enough teachers are leaving

216 replies

sharptoothlemonshark · 23/01/2024 17:29

Listening (again) to teacher friends (again) and school children (again).

Anarchy in the classroom, shouting, swearing, children walking out and running around the school, back breaking workload, constant, contradictory criticism, abuse from parents ( and from managers - many of whom are not teachers) no resources, children destroying the resources that do exist, heating / lighting/ IT continually failing, marking too heavy to carry...constant pressure to "achieve" results that are not in any way under your control, low pay, children who want to learn being denied the opportunity to......

Surely these conditions would not exist if teachers didn't collude with keeping them in existence - not all schools are like this. Why don't teachers simply refuse to go along with it? The children that are stuck in schools like this are not being given a fair chance in life, even the really naughty ones are only children, and deserve to be in a system where they can be disciplined and trained, and educated.

I know its hard when you are working 80 hours a week and have no time to think about it, and when you have a mortgage to pay. I've been there. But with hindsight, I should have simply refused to put up with it, long before I did.

More teachers should leave!

OP posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

587 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
57%
You are NOT being unreasonable
43%
GnomeDePlume · 24/01/2024 21:22

HarlaEB · 24/01/2024 19:39

And you complained to who?…( your MP, your local councillor, the trust board, the Regional Schools Commissioner…)

You protested where?

Or as a large group of parents you just accepted it?

I think that was my point, as very large group in this country, parents can demand more for their children. Education and the services supporting children and families are just not acceptable under this government.

As I said right at the start of my post, we were shut out as parents.

We didnt know the school was screwing up the English GCSE until it happened. We didnt know that the GCSE history teacher wasnt teaching the syllabus until it happened. We didnt know that the teacher for one of the GCSE sciences was going to be off sick for a year and be back filled with non-science supply teachers until it happened.

Funnily enough failing schools are very keen to hide that fact from parents. As parents we only started to find out about the extent of the issues when DD1 was in year 11.

This was our first go at having a DC get to GCSEs. We didnt know what was normal

This wasnt an inner-city sink school dealing with major gang issues. This was the only secondary school in a small midlands working class town.

There is no 'body' of parents. We dont have meetings. We hardly see each other except at the annual parents' evening when all the focus is on trying to work out where all the teachers are.

But even if we did want to complain the routes for complaining are what? MP was a true blue Tory with no interest in the town. Academy trust was already on its way out of the door. Council couldnt organise its way out of a wet bag and was disbanded because of its own incompetence. OFSTED already knew the school was a mess.

Thankfully DCs are all out of school now.

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noblegiraffe · 24/01/2024 21:47

All schools try to hide stuff from parents when things are going wrong because the last thing that is generally needed is a bunch of parental complaints to deal with on top of the thing that is going wrong.

Also, schools get funding per bums on seats. Fewer bums = less money = more problems.

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WearyAuldWumman · 24/01/2024 21:58

Dacadactyl · 24/01/2024 18:32

I'd like to know why some state schools are fantastic and are able to exclude kids who behave badly, whereas others i know make the teachers put up with racist abuse?!

I mean in a school I know, the racist child would've been excluded for a week (if not expelled), but in the school he is at, he just got moved to another class. Totally unacceptable.

Some Local Authorities make it almost impossible to exclude children, even racists.

10 yrs ago, I was part of an exclusion meeting for a pupil who was racist towards a teacher. I doubt whether our LA would exclude for the same offence now.

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Ellen2shoes · 24/01/2024 22:00

Problem goes far deeper than the classroom. It’s a societal problem for which we are all responsible. Teachers who stay may have mortgages to pay etc but there are far easier ways. It’s a vocation for many of us who still hold out in the same way that a doctor wouldn’t abandon a patient because the hospital is crumbling around them.

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Hullabalooza · 24/01/2024 22:01

Colluding is a loaded word and very unfair to use. Saying “teachers should” is also coming across as pious and pointing the blame in the wrong direction. Academisation, Tory governments and lack of funding for extended services are up there with the key reasons many (NOT all) schools face this crisis. It’s reductive to say teachers shouldn’t be putting up with it, and smacks of someone who doesn’t really understand the complexity of the state of the education system beyond a couple of local schools.

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GnomeDePlume · 24/01/2024 22:02

Our DCs' school was the only one in the town so good or bad the intake wasn't going to change by much.

The one core subject the school was good at was A Level maths. This because the department consisted of two teachers who were great friends and performed as a kind of double act!

I think they largely ignored the various Heads who passed through the school.

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Devonshiregal · 24/01/2024 22:04

WearyAuldWumman · 23/01/2024 21:52

I would hope that you are at least allowed to have police input when that happens. School management tries to prevent staff from calling the police.

I got hurt stopping an assault last week. The following day, I was hurt stopping a fight.

If they come. Which in my experience they usually don't. They tend to take the attitude that it’s yours to deal with because you’re working in a bar environment rather than bad behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated full stop. Like you should expect it and absorb it.

Can’t speak for retail police wise.

And to be honest so much of this behaviour is just not enough to call police anyway/you get desensitised ie sexual harassment or breaking up fights or low level but constant rudeness/aggressiveness.

I could go on all day about the things that I’ve seen or experienced but a few are being pissed on, having people piss on your furniture, having to break up people having sex in public, people shooting up in loo, being spat on, being hit, being groped, being bottled, being kicked, being clicked at, being screamed at (by the Prosecco wives usually), fully grown men standing on furniture getting annoyed and calling you a slut when you tell them to get down, people with mental health problems cornering you/doing incredibly inappropriate things and having to handle it, full blown 20 man fights, people wanking over other customers and having to intervene….and so it goes on. And this is at a mixture of normal bars/pubs in very affluent towns. 100% not scummy places. and they’re not one offs.

That’s outrageous you were orevented from calling the police. I know that the teacher is usually made to feel guilty or at fault in a lot of situations as I’ve seen it with my own eyes with teachers I know. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been hurt in your job too, it’s appalling how in schools the same kind of attitude prevails - like it’s ok if a kid hurts a teacher as they’re “just a kid” - one of my teacher friends had a chunk taken out of his leg not long ago by a ten year old biting him and it was just shrugged off by everyone involved as something they should basically expect.

Also kids can bully and harass other kids but that’s ok because they’re “just kids, even though we’d never put up with that behaviour at the office.

And also some teachers can be hideous to kids and people just shrug and go oh well in my day we got the cane.

it doesn’t help in schools either that some parents let their kids watch so much violent stuff and don’t seem to care how they behave.

honestly I think it’s a societal problem rather than specific to one industry. People genuinely seem to have so little respect but also there seems to be no fear of how society judges them which means they have no repercussions.

i don’t know what the answer is.

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Supergirl1958 · 24/01/2024 22:06

Good old pit pony scenario. I’m a teacher! My fiancé is working his way up to a 55k management role 8-5 with no qualifications. Teaching is the only way I can compete for the next however long and I won’t work my way up to anywhere near 55k.

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SilkFloss · 24/01/2024 22:06

@MondieBee "The narrative that teachers have literally the hardest job in the world does nothing to increase respect."

Can you please link a direct quote from any teacher who has actually claimed this?

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Platypuslover · 24/01/2024 22:39

Teachers are still much better paid than retail or leisure workers and they get the most holiday out of all the professions.

considering a lot of teachers can be YouTubers with regular content I don’t believe the 80 s in the slightest. I also doubt you work 16h a day.

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noblegiraffe · 24/01/2024 22:45

That's why we have so many people wanting to be teachers is it?

Ask your kids how many cover lessons they've had recently.

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Mumoftwo1312 · 24/01/2024 22:47

considering a lot of teachers can be YouTubers with regular content I don’t believe the 80 s in the slightest. I also doubt you work 16h a day.

A lot? Really? There are 570,000 teachers in the UK. You really think a large proportion of them are youtubers?

Someone needs to go back to school.

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emmylousings · 24/01/2024 22:52

sharptoothlemonshark · 23/01/2024 17:47

Yes. It can be like being in an abusive relationship, I think.

I don't want to be flippant, but that is genuinely how I see it, looking back. I'm so much happier since I left, and i loved teaching. Many teachers are leaving and feel like this.

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brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr · 24/01/2024 22:54

Why is the behaviour so bad ? What is it about the British that makes them so horrible ?

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PumpkinPatch23 · 24/01/2024 22:54

Our school has announced potential redundancy for teaching and support staff due to budget cuts 😐

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EnidSpyton · 24/01/2024 23:12

The reality is that every school is different, though, and every teacher becomes used to the environment they are in.

I work in a top private school in London where we're paid over £60k as a basic classroom teacher salary and have 15 weeks' of holiday a year. I have a very easy life and will do a bit of work at the weekends/in the evenings at crunch points of the year, but the reality is, most days I work 8-5 and I enjoy my job. The kids are well behaved and like learning. I have a decent leadership team who leave me alone to do my job. I have great colleagues. I can't complain.

I know plenty of teachers who work in inner city London comps who work 12 hour days, all weekend, and deal with horrific behaviour incidents every day. They are surrounded by colleagues for whom that is the norm and they have convinced each other that is just what teaching is. Many of them take a sort of absurd pride in being martyrs to the cause, and won't leave because they 'can't abandon the kids.'

It's these kinds of teachers - the ones who wear their suffering like a badge of honour and accuse those of us who have left state for private as traitors - who perpetuate workload problems, because they are willing to put in 12-14 hour days, and they make this the norm. They then get promoted and continue that culture within their schools.

It does have to stop but the OP is right in saying that teachers are part of the problem. There does come a point where you have to say no. In my first school, the whole English department banded together and went on a marking strike until we were given an extra member of staff so we could actually have a manageable workload. Collective action works. But in too many schools there is a lack of cohesion and camaraderie amongst staff - there is a huge amount of game playing, back stabbing and pettiness in staff rooms, as many teachers have never mentally left the classroom and a lot of them are trying to climb the greasy pole to earn more money - so it's hard to get people to put their heads above the parapet and say no when no needs to be said.

To put it bluntly, there are many people who become teachers because they enjoy having power over other people. Not because they love children, not because they love learning, and certainly not because they have a passion for their subject. I've worked with many teachers over the years who were sadistic bullies, and who were thick as two short planks to boot. No prizes for guessing that they were often promoted to SLT very rapidly, and set about turning their schools into mini fiefdoms. Many state schools are populated with these types, as well as young and impressionable NQTs with mediocre poly degrees and poor GCSEs and A Levels, who don't have much subject knowledge and for whom teaching is bloody hard work because they don't have the mental, intellectual or emotional agility to cope with the pressures. These are the types who do have to work all the hours God sends not because they want to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, but because it genuinely takes them forever to plan and mark lessons. So many of our schools - particularly in areas where school intakes are problematic - are staffed by a mixture of sadists, narcissists, martyrs, and well meaning incompetents. It's no wonder schools are in crisis.

The reality is that there is such a major issue with staffing now, that if teachers did collectively get together in schools and start instigating action short of a strike (i.e. refusing to work beyond their contracted hours) their leadership teams would be forced to sit up and listen. But it's finding the will to collectively get together - when teaching is exhausting, there's always exams or reports or some other crunch point to get through, and when you've got people who are too scared to do anything for fear of losing their job (and god knows why, because most of them don't have a job worth having), it's not as easy as the movies make it out to be. Plus we have to remember that many of us (myself included) genuinely love our students, and the thought of hurting them through taking action often stops us from putting our own needs first.

It's a tough one really. It's a complex issue and not easily solved. But I don't agree with the narrative that teachers are overworked victims - some are, but many aren't, and in the right school, teaching is a joy and the best job in the world.

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Headstarttohappiness · 24/01/2024 23:28

That strike achieved a much bigger pay rise than we were originally offered and built the union across the country so we are in a better position to tackle workload, conditions etc.

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noblegiraffe · 25/01/2024 00:42

if teachers did collectively get together in schools and start instigating action short of a strike (i.e. refusing to work beyond their contracted hours) their leadership teams would be forced to sit up and listen.

WE DON'T HAVE CONTRACTED HOURS.

The rest of your post was pretty vile.

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EnidSpyton · 25/01/2024 07:12

noblegiraffe · 25/01/2024 00:42

if teachers did collectively get together in schools and start instigating action short of a strike (i.e. refusing to work beyond their contracted hours) their leadership teams would be forced to sit up and listen.

WE DON'T HAVE CONTRACTED HOURS.

The rest of your post was pretty vile.

Yeah, we do. My contract says I am required to be in school between 8.15 and 4.30. If a meeting goes beyond 4.30 then I am entitled to leave. In my contract it also outlines how many hours of directed time my headteacher can ask me to work per week. Claiming we don’t have contracted hours perpetuates this myth that teachers are subject to unreasonable working demands due to having no legal limits to the hours they are required to work. We absolutely do and we absolutely should
be enforcing them when schools are creating additional meeting slots and unreasonable marking demands.

My post isn’t vile. It’s just honest. Not all teachers are fantastic human beings or talented professionals. Pretending we are doesn’t get us anywhere.

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noblegiraffe · 25/01/2024 07:20

You work for a private school and have a different contract. Directed time is not the same as contracted hours. State school teachers are required to work as many hours deemed necessary to discharge their professional duties.

And your suggestion that teachers who are working unreasonable hours are doing this because they are too thick to do the job more efficiently is absolutely vile.

So many of our schools - ... - are staffed by a mixture of sadists, narcissists, martyrs, and well meaning incompetents

This is vile.

Vile post.

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EnidSpyton · 25/01/2024 07:57

No @noblegiraffe teachers are not required to work as many hours required to do their duties. There are a maximum number of hours of directed time. I respect all the work you do on here to raise awareness of the shit show that is our education system but claiming that our hours are unlimited just isn’t true. Even when I worked in state I had contracted hours and the burgundy book clearly states when teachers cannot be directed to work. It’s not the Wild West. Some schools might act as if it is but we do have contracted hours as to when we are required to be on site and we do have a limit to our directed time, both of which we are legally entitled to enforce. I’m not sure why you’re pushing a false narrative here.

And I stand by my comments. Anyone who’s worked in teaching for as long as I have will recognise the colleagues I’m talking about. Shit floats I’m afraid and many of our Academy heads and deputies are narcissistic idiots who bully their staff, and many classroom teachers are really quite incompetent. Many aren’t, and I’ve worked with loads of amazing colleagues. But I’ve also worked with a lot of bullies, narcissists and idiots. Teaching is sadly not a profession of geniuses and saints and never has been. Again, pretending otherwise to project an image of all teachers as hapless martyrs does us no favours. There are many teachers within the system who perpetuate a culture of unreasonable hours and bully colleagues to make their lives a misery. You know this is true from what you post on here, so why suggest I’m being vile in being honest about it?

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Valeriekat · 25/01/2024 08:09

Many teachers are guilted in Good question OP!
"For the children!"
note that those using that phrase are highly paid and don't get their hands dirty in the classroom.

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Mambo19866 · 25/01/2024 08:12

They are leaving. Teaching is terribly under staffed atm makes me wonder how the country will look in the future. The larger the classes get because of less teachers the worse these problems will get. Though we are likely going to see the classroom model change in the not so distant future. Once the AI Gpt models get the auto agent functionality allowing them to remember all previous interactions with a student then i believe education will be like everyone having their own personal tutor. Or if the classroom remains AI would be the teacher and you would have a human whose only job is student management. I’m probably talking nonsense :)

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noblegiraffe · 25/01/2024 08:48

No  teachers are not required to work as many hours required to do their duties.

Yes they are. This is the bit of the pay and conditions document that states as such.

Of course it says "reasonable" but what is considered reasonable is clearly unreasonable given the amount of hours the average teacher works in a week.

I’m not sure why you’re pushing a false narrative here.

Because I'm not. The contracted requirements of our working hours goes well beyond directed time.

You know this is true from what you post on here, so why suggest I’m being vile in being honest about it?

Because you stated that many schools "are staffed by a mixture of sadists, narcissists, martyrs, and well meaning incompetents" which is insulting to a range of hardworking and competent colleagues who are nonetheless struggling with the demands of the job which are increasingly intolerable due to stripping down of other child services. As a private school teacher you'd be shielded from an awful lot of that.

Not enough teachers are leaving
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ToastOfBristol · 25/01/2024 08:57

This will be why 50% of my faculty are on stress related sickness... And it's the same at so many schools...

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