It’s been a while since Sir Michael Wilshaw said something to annoy the teaching community so his most recent comment was sure to stir things up. According to this report by BBC News, Wilshaw told the Times that teachers must work extra hours if they want a pay rise and teachers who were out of the door by 3pm shouldn’t be promoted. Staff who went the extra mile, should get promoted.
Now I never thought that I would agree with anything Sir Wilshaw said but there are a lot of teachers who work incredibly hard who don’t get any recognition. When I was teaching, I worked a lot. For example, I worked 14 hour days & worked Sunday as standard. I was always looking for ways to improve my teaching & improve the learning experience for all my students. Nothing was too much work. Another teacher at the school didn’t work to the same level that I did. For example, they didn’t plan or mark regularly. However, due to them passing threshold at a previous school, they earned more than I did. How was that fair? It wasn’t. And it used to get to me big time.
If someone isn’t doing their job, why should their pay get increased? Why should they be considered for promotion? If they can’t complete the basic requirements of their jobs then they shouldn’t get paid the same as someone who goes the extra mile.
Now, all Wilshaw needs to do is put his money where his mouth is. There are plenty of teachers who do go the extra mile and my hope is that for those teachers, they can start to see some extra money in their pay packets. No one gets into teaching because of the pay, pension or holidays. They get into it because of their passion to help young people learn and improve their life chances.
It is an incredibly stressful job, not stressful like being on the frontline of the Armed Forces, but it is stressful. And it’s not easy. With the Government constantly moving the goalposts & with each new class bringing with it fresh challenges and needs, it is like being in a hamster wheel. Unlike teaching in the past, teaching is no longer a secure job. Schools up and down the country are making redundancies and teaching posts aren’t being filled due to lack of funding, causing some teachers to regularly teach outside their specialism. This only adds to the tension within schools. No one is saying that teachers should be above and beyond economics but they are doing a very difficult job. So many PGCE students start the school year with full to the brim with enthusiasm Find those PGCE students 5 years into their teaching career & they are exhausted.
Just like every other profession, there are great teachers, mediocre teachers and awful teachers. It would be impossible to weed out the poor ones from every school but I think rewarding those who do a great job, as long as it’s not just based on performance, is about time.