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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!

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ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 25/01/2024 08:59

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?

This isn’t my experience of teaching. My experience is that you worked until the job was done and it was never ending.

Directed time was just a phrase. Nothing was ever totalled or added up.

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dottiedodah · 25/01/2024 09:04

Obviously most teachers have bills to pay! May stop them from leaving.also no one would have an education if they all walked out .

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zingally · 25/01/2024 09:31

I'm a supply teacher, and one of my regular schools can't retain teachers for love nor money.

This is a typical 2-form entry primary:
Reception - one of the teachers has handed in her notice to leave at Easter.
Year 1 - One class has had continuous supply teachers since September. Appalling behaviour in there made it impossible to stay. 2 kids since expelled. The teacher of the other class is leaving at Easter.
Year 2 - Full compliment of teachers.
Year 3 - One class covered by a long-term ECT supply.
Year 4 - One teacher is leaving at Easter.
Year 5 - Both teachers out. One had a sudden health crisis over Christmas. The other handed in her notice at Christmas and hasn't been seen since.
Year 6 - Both teachers present.

Of 7 year groups, only 2 are up and running normally. 5 have collapsed or are about to.

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threatmatrix · 25/01/2024 09:33

Funny how this doesn’t happen in Private schools, maybe because they pay the parents give the school their full support instead of trying to beat them up.

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fitzwilliamdarcy · 25/01/2024 10:09

Money, obviously.

I have 3 teacher friends and 2 have finally left the job after years of doing it, because they were getting assaulted by primary school children every single week, abused by the parents of said children, and then gaslit by their SLTs. I'm so happy for them - they deserve a bit of time off and to decide what to do next. But the reason they can do that is because they have well-off husbands.

The third is in the same position and desperately wants to leave but her husband's income isn't enough to live on, so she's stuck.

I feel for her the most - I'm single and would love to leave my (non-teaching) job but I can't because I'm the only earner.

I do think it's somewhat akin to being financially trapped in an abusive relationship.

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Mumoftwo1312 · 25/01/2024 10:37

I agree with @noblegiraffe and I've worked in mostly independent schools, with brief stints in state schools.

You can stop working at 4.30pm if you like, but you need to have got your stuff done. You can argue that you didn't have enough time to finish it but most managers won't be sympathetic.

I'm lucky that my current HoD is very enlightened and protects us from having to do silly accountability-busywork. He says marking is overrated except in rare circumstances (he prefers high quality lessons). But I've had HoDs in the past who would do book checks and expect "double marking". Good luck trying to do that all before 4.30pm. And yes, I did quit in the end, both places that had those expectations.

I'm very lucky in that I teach a very shortage subject (arguably the most shortage) and the SLT at my school have recognised the need to keep us happy so we don't quit.

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MummyTherapist · 25/01/2024 11:42

I think leaving a job requires much more thinking on the part of the leaver than just the consideration that it could send a message to some entity who already seems to not care.
Many schools that are failing are in areas where there aren't as many school, so quitting could mean you're travelling much further for no rise in pay or change in benefits but a loss of personal time.
If you work in a terrible school, you're not likely to get into much better schools automatically, people in other schools often know the reputation of other surrounding schools and want teachers from good schools to help drive theirs up. This obviously adds to the divide between good and bad schools.
Its also a helping profession so there is an innate bias that most teachers will go in with. There tends to be a personal characteristic of wanting to make the most of a lack of resources and of thinking/hoping for the best even in the worst circumstance. Changing these ideas can take years of work.
There's also the fear that if you quit, you'll be replaced with someone even less fit for the task, and therefore you would be doing the students a disservice just to try and prove a point. As mentioned earlier, cover supervisors are far cheaper and not required to have relevant qualifications, so the danger is that you might jut be adding to the issues instead of being part of the solution through this mass quitting revolution.
I think there's probably a hundred more reasons why this solution might be too simplistic and idealistic. I agree more needs to be done to reform the education system. I myself have been working in education for over 12 years now. There are certainly changes I would implement in all the schools I've worked in, but often the changes would require mass culture shifts in thinking or access to resources that schools mostly just don't have.

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sharptoothlemonshark · 25/01/2024 17:13

threatmatrix · 25/01/2024 09:33

Funny how this doesn’t happen in Private schools, maybe because they pay the parents give the school their full support instead of trying to beat them up.

It does happen at private schools, ( the collapse of year group class structure) I have seen some terrible things in private schools!

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GrammarTeacher · 25/01/2024 17:30

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?

@noblegiraffe is right though. There is a phrase that says we must complete the work. It is literally impossible as an English teacher to mark our mocks and everything else within directed hours. I am far from incompetent. The directed hours are the times they can demand you are IN school. The work needs to be done.

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SilkFloss · 25/01/2024 19:52

"If you work in a terrible school, you're not likely to get into much better schools automatically, people in other schools often know the reputation of other surrounding schools and want teachers from good schools to help drive theirs up."
What nonsense! That implies that all teachers in challenging schools are poor teachers, which is absolutely not the case. In fact, I would suggest that it takes a special sort of talent to work in such a school, rather than coasting in an "easy" school.

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JaffavsCookie · 25/01/2024 20:04

@noblegiraffe is correct and I agree most of your post is really very unpleasant @EnidSpyton

Life in a “top London school” ( of course it is 😳) is going to be very very different to any state school, or even to a private school in the provinces.
We are contracted to do the hours the job demands, and anyway even the most basic of self preservation instincts keep one prepping late in the evening- if you have a shit difficult class then they are three times as awful with an ill prepared lesson.

I am not pretending to work 80hrs/ week but even as an experienced teacher working in a very supportive department ( unlike your experience in your top school we have a massively collaborative system with work for all lessons available on the system just for tweaking for your own class, and always someone to ask for help, and happy to help others) I am at work 8 until just before 5 every day, 2-3 h during mon- thurs eves and 4/5 h on a Sunday - still adds up to 60h per week, easy to see how inexperienced staff, those without any collaborative resources to access or unsupportive slt can edge into 80h.

You also almost certainly have far fewer contact hours than in the state sector.

As to why don’t we move into the private sector, other than not wanting to as I like my school, and 95% of the kids/ parents and school allow me freedom and my tlr suits me down to the ground, in semi rural areas like mine there are 3 private schools located in 45 min drive radius of me - 1 permanently looks like it is going bankrupt, 1 my kids went to do and it houses 1 of only 2 of the people @EnidSpyton finds so commonly, a vile fool of a bully at slt, and the other hasn’t had a vacancy in my subject since my own kids left school and I could commute there.

If you really are a teacher then the tiniest bit of realisation that your teaching life is very different to most would be useful.

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threatmatrix · 25/01/2024 20:52

sharptoothlemonshark · 25/01/2024 17:13

It does happen at private schools, ( the collapse of year group class structure) I have seen some terrible things in private schools!

Of course you have. I happen to have worked in both and I know which one I choose every day. Private school kids do get up to things but they are not feral with usually a single feral parent. I never felt threatened and certainly didn’t need a help card.

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sharptoothlemonshark · 25/01/2024 20:54

threatmatrix · 25/01/2024 20:52

Of course you have. I happen to have worked in both and I know which one I choose every day. Private school kids do get up to things but they are not feral with usually a single feral parent. I never felt threatened and certainly didn’t need a help card.

I was talking specifically about the collapse of the year group class structure. Due to understaffing, vacancies unfilled, no cover teachers, etc

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threatmatrix · 25/01/2024 20:56

sharptoothlemonshark · 25/01/2024 20:54

I was talking specifically about the collapse of the year group class structure. Due to understaffing, vacancies unfilled, no cover teachers, etc

I’ve never had any of that in the private sector either. We will have to agree to disagree.

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Boomboom22 · 25/01/2024 21:05

Woah there, not all kids in state schools are feral with single mums. And not all single mums are bad parents, and those that are it's usually poverty and kids with married parents in poverty do just as badly. There's a small minority like this, in some sink schools more, but this thread is about general behaviour from all kids.

And tbh a lot of the issues are middle class gentle parents who spoil their kids.

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AllProperTeaIsTheft · 25/01/2024 21:06

"If you work in a terrible school, you're not likely to get into much better schools automatically, people in other schools often know the reputation of other surrounding schools and want teachers from good schools to help drive theirs up."

What rubbish. Many, many good teachers have worked in a range of schools, from poor to great. It's all experience. Lots of my excellent colleagues at our lovely girls' grammar school had previously worked in a difficult or failing school. As have I.

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AllProperTeaIsTheft · 25/01/2024 21:08

Woah there, not all kids in state schools are feral with single mums.

I don't think anyone suggested they were. The poster said that private school students mostly aren't, not that all state students are.

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sharptoothlemonshark · 25/01/2024 21:10

Boomboom22 · 25/01/2024 21:05

Woah there, not all kids in state schools are feral with single mums. And not all single mums are bad parents, and those that are it's usually poverty and kids with married parents in poverty do just as badly. There's a small minority like this, in some sink schools more, but this thread is about general behaviour from all kids.

And tbh a lot of the issues are middle class gentle parents who spoil their kids.

Agreed! its the "gentle parenting" that is destroying the education of a generation, not the "feral" kids.

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redundantMother · 25/01/2024 21:36

dottiedodah · 25/01/2024 09:04

Obviously most teachers have bills to pay! May stop them from leaving.also no one would have an education if they all walked out .

Also might find themselves reported to the TRA by vindictive head. Teachers can be subject to coercive control.

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Depressedhusbandbringingmedown · 25/01/2024 21:40

It’s strange because amongst my friends, I would probably be the most outwardly “gentle” parent but I have always saved my strictness for what I’ve seen as the non-negotiables like manners, working hard at school, being a kind friend, following instructions.

I never undermine the school in front of DD and even if internally I don’t agree with the volume of homework or something, I just let it be.

Difficult things prepare children for life as long as it’s not an extreme issue of course.

If you have good, firm boundaries from when they’re younger (and there are no SEN) it can be a relative breeze to raise your children and teachers have always commented on what a delight DD is to teach.

Getting behaviour expectations sorted from the start means that I can trust DD to be sensible which, in turn gives her more freedom, more time for fun and just time for loving her.

This new generation of parents who think they’re being gentle or attachment parents are generally just using their irritating parenting style as a two fingers up at their own parents and teachers. Passing their chip adorned shoulders on to the next generation.

It’s not great.

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Combattingthemoaners · 26/01/2024 04:01

threatmatrix · 25/01/2024 20:52

Of course you have. I happen to have worked in both and I know which one I choose every day. Private school kids do get up to things but they are not feral with usually a single feral parent. I never felt threatened and certainly didn’t need a help card.

You come across very judgemental. Not only about state schools and the people working in them but the “feral” children. Your posts have a very condescending tone.

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Depressedhusbandbringingmedown · 26/01/2024 06:41

Combattingthemoaners · 26/01/2024 04:01

You come across very judgemental. Not only about state schools and the people working in them but the “feral” children. Your posts have a very condescending tone.

I’ve met more threatening and unpleasant parents since working in a private school than I ever did in the state sector, where parents generally let you get on with your job and trust your professional judgement.

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MummyTherapist · 26/01/2024 08:50

That's certainly not the implication, but it is an assumption that many people in better performing schools do make. Having worked in many schools in my career, I have observed this phenomenon often.
In my personal opinion, most teachers in "under-performing" schools are outstanding and the real issues are with management and lack of funding, but my opinion doesn't count when it comes to recruitment.

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Hagpie · 26/01/2024 13:32

You know what I will do that! Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was having some behavioural issues with my kid at home and her teacher stopped to actually speak to me. I explained the problem, we made a plan, he did his bit, I did mine and it’s like I have a new kid.

Thank YOU for everything that you do! He’s been a bit too busy after school for me to give him an update but he’s really making a difference and he should know it.

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kitsuneghost · 26/01/2024 13:34

Good wage and good pension can make you put up with a lot

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