I do whole heartedly agree with you John, that devaluement of the teaching profession has been bi-product of the policies of the Conservative government in the 1980's and 1990's. I think lot of what is rotten about British society is bi-product of the Thatcher years. Across British society we seen this huge movement to a consumer mentality, neo-liberalism at its natural conclusion. Market values in areas of public life which are not naturally suited to accept the rules of free enterprise. The teacher and the teaching profession has undoubtedly become a pawn in this shift.
Teaching is an altruistic occupation and as such draws in candidates to the profession who wish to try excerise their altruistic tendancies, both professional and personal. Yet altruistic values are rarely a postive in a market economy. This has led to inbalence between the people who enter the profession and their motivation for doing so, and the realities that they face when they join the profession. Thatcherite polices have destroyed any notion of altruisism in British society. Quite clearly market forces do not apply to the teaching sector.
In a business environment, arguably, competiton will eventually produce the best price for the best service given optimum market conditions. Yet education is not a service industry. In the process of competiton producing this ideal state of best price for the service, businesses go bankrupt. Could we argue that failing schools are just going 'bankrupt' do to market forces?
They can no longer attract the necessary work force. Their bugets are continually cut, due to lower and lower test results. They can't get the consumers, as less and less parents don't want to send their children to that school. This is the consumer market, Thactherite ideology at its natural conclusion.
Yet even if we could say neo-liberal ideology will one day create this perfect balence between consumerism and service, in the process of obtaining its perfect equlibrium, an X number of businesses have have gone bankrupt. In education this means in 'real time' (a great polictian's piece of jargon) that 10 years, 20 years worth of school leavers have had their education ruined by this ideology.
Generally what will happen is that this perfect state of equilbrium is never achieved and some school leavers will always lose out. This is great for the government of Britain. I truly believe that it is in government's best interest to stop all members of society gaining an education. It becomes a simple challenge to their power.
Imagine if everyone left school with and A in history all fufilling the level 7 national curiculum level descriptor. "Has demonstrated they can detect bias." New Labour would be sunk and Cambell would be out of a job. The media would be sunk and out of job. The Sun and the Daily Mail would go bankrupt to match their mentality.
To try and bring my arguement full circle I think that the greatest weakness of the teaching profession is altruisism. An almost pious devotion to the mentality of teaching. Where teaching comes first, before creating a professional base. The idea that "If I don't work every hour God sends then my children are losing out."
This simply is untrue.
Infact this is a mentality that the government love, they adore this mentality, and they seek it out in altruistic personalities. They seek it out on P.G.C.E interviews, this is the modern face of teaching.
The saddest thing about my year in Britain, is that on my course which was about 20 or so strong, there was a real wealth of talent, highly motivated, energetic individuals. Who at the start of the year were noisy and buzzing with ideas. At the end most if not all were dejected and depressed. I think, with the exception of myself, that these people if correctly trainned could easily rejuvinated numerous history departments. Yet they weren't properly trainned. They like me, were given all the worst jobs to do, the worst groups to teach etc...So much so that I think that half have already quit. We know the statistics.
What the government doesn't want is strong body of teachers, (I don't really know anything about the politics between NUS or the NUWSS) who can challenge this hegmony. The government wants teachers exactly like the ones they are currently producing. People who want to change their careers to teaching, they gamble on the change and then are seemly suck in the new environment. I would bet thet most people who pass the P.G.C.E or the NQT year and then drop out, are people like myself who have no real responsibilities ie. children, morgage etc..
We can structure the P.G.C.E and control numbers of teachers. We can get a fair wage for job. To me it all it means it just dropping the pioty of teaching.
I am a teacher not a facillitator, I am facillitator not a teacher. It means nothing, it using the same consumer, service mentality which has got us into our current position. It also the perpetuates the jargon which is all throughout teaching.
Edited by John, 28 June 2003 - 04:44 AM.