This much I know about…why we need to thank our own teachers

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I have been a teacher for 27 years, a Headteacher for 12 years and, at the age of 51, this much I know about why we have to thank our own teachers.

We. Don’t. Have. Enough. Teachers. In. Our. Own. Country. To. Educate. Our. Own. Children. Just take a few seconds to think about that fact and what it means about the repute of the teaching profession in our country. Teaching is a joyous experience but why would an aspiring, inspiring highly qualified graduate want to enter a profession for life where you don’t even need to be qualified? We have to search abroad to find teachers to populate our British classrooms.

How come we don’t have enough teachers to educate our own children? Despite claims to the contrary by the Ministers, it is a stark, lose-sleep-at-night fact to those of us leading schools that the supply of teachers does not meet the demand. Predictably, it is schools in most need of the best teachers, schools whose students live in the most deprived areas of the country, which are the biggest victims of the teacher shortage.

Ever wondered why the Chinese system is all the rage right now? I know for sure that the government is thinking that one solution to the dearth of good teachers is sixty students in the school hall with exam desks, a Powerpoint and a single teacher. You’d better believe it…

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Celebrate don’t denigrate. The Education Foundation is calling for a fresh narrative as the UNESCO World Teachers’ Day approaches: Let’s start celebrating our amazing teachers and schools… They asked, which teachers inspire me? Well, our 109 teachers inspire me because I know for sure when I walk around our sprawling site that I will find all 109 working flat out to provide the best education possible for our young people, day-in, day-out, week-in, week-out, all year round. I trust them to do a great job. So, in tribute to the remarkable work they do, in response to the Education Foundation’s campaign and in anticipation of the UNESCO World Teachers’ Day, I want to thank publicly Huntington’s 109 by naming each and every one of them:

Mrs Bailey; Mrs Baxter; Mrs Bream; Mrs Brierley; Mrs Brown; Mr Bruce; Mr Bruce; Mr Burnage; Mrs Burns; Miss Campbell; Mrs Carlin; Miss Carr; Mr Cartmail; Mr Clark; Mrs Collins; Mr Crabtree; Ms Crossan; Mrs Currie; Mr Currie; Miss Dawber; Miss Dawson; Miss Dunbar; Mr Dunwell; Miss Elliott; Mrs Elsworth; Mr Elwell; Mr Featherstone; Mrs Feltham; Mrs Fisher; Miss Fletcher; Mr Foreman; Mrs Fortune; Mr Furness; Mrs Garbett; Mrs Garbutt; Miss Goodman; Ms Goodwill; Mr Gray; Mrs Griffiths; Mrs Hadcroft; Mr Hardwell; Mr Harvey; Mrs Hastings; Miss Hentschel; Mr Hewitt; Miss Heys; Mrs Holland; Mrs Hopson; Mrs Hughes; Mr Hughes; Mr Hunt; Miss Hutchison; Mrs Johnson; Mrs Jones; Mr Jones; Mrs Kirby; Mr Lamb; Miss Laverick; Mrs Lefebvre; Mr Littlewood; Mr Lunn; Miss Mansfield; Miss Maycock; Miss McFadzean; Mr Meldrum; Miss Moylett; Mr Murgatroyd; Mrs Naish; Mr Norris; Mrs O’Neill; Mrs Osborne; Mr Paley; Mr Parmiter; Mrs Pelleymounter; Miss Pinkney; Ms Pople; Mrs Potts; Mr Quigley; Mr Richards; Mrs Rigby; Mrs Robinson; Miss Ross; Mr Savory; Mrs Sellars; Mr Shillito; Mrs Skaith; Miss Skelton; Mr Smith; Mrs Smith; Mrs Smith; Mrs Smith; Ms Spence; Mr Teasdale; Miss Tee; Miss Terry; Mrs Thompson; Mr Titmas; Mr Tunnicliffe; Mrs Van Opstal; Miss Walker; Mr Wareham; Mrs Warren; Miss Watson; Miss Welford; Mrs White; Mrs Wilson; Mrs Wood; Ms Wright; Mrs Yeadon.

Who Inspired You

Don’t forget, it’s not just the teachers. These are just three of countless examples of how our wider staff team supported our 109 teachers and students this week with acts of expertise and kindness way beyond the proverbial extra mile.

The lost coat. Without Mrs Gowland working on reception until gone 5pm last night, one of our children would have gone home, tearful and distraught, thinking she had lost her brand new SuperDry coat.

Migrating to SIMS. Without Mrs Richardson working throughout the summer holiday and getting in at 6.00 am every day this past week, we wouldn’t have had such a smooth transition to our new management information system.

Training teachers. Without Mrs Cousins, who has taken on the role of SIMS trainer, I wouldn’t know how to take a register, nor would my 109 teacher colleagues.

I love a wo/man in uniform! I spoke to the second cohort of Troops to Teachers earlier this week; fabulous people, with a dozen options open to them after a military career, who have chosen to enter the teaching profession. It was a privilege to meet them. I ended with the well-known Taylor Mali poem to prep them for those times when, round the dinner table, they find themselves a teacher and not a troop. Not everyone has been in a fox-hole in the Iraqi desert, but everyone has been to school and knows about teaching. This week Mali’s spiky performance stirred my pride in our profession more than usual.

About johntomsett

Headteacher in York. All views are my own.
This entry was posted in General educational issues, School Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to This much I know about…why we need to thank our own teachers

  1. TeachPeach says:

    Totally with you on all of this.

    One thing I would say – it’s SO important to thank for the specifics, as you’ve done above. A generic and box-ticking ‘thank you for your hard work this term’ means nothing to me. However, a ‘thank you so much – my son really wants to come to school now because he loves your lessons’, or a ‘thank you for organising the harvest festival performance – I can’t believe how much you got out of the children’ means buckets.

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