I make no apologies for returning to my favourite hobby horse, the “insidious prejudice against older teachers”. I revisited an article from the Guardian in May 2013 which really struck a nerve the first time of reading – and it hit even harder still this week! I’ve been talking with school leaders in secondary and primary schools across London and Kent about the challenges of interim and supply teacher recruitment. They all agree we have to move away from the sticking-plaster approach and towards a model that accepts that temporary teaching is an integral part of school life.
The article itself is written by “a happy classroom teacher, with happy pupils in a happy school” with a great track record but who still feels “vulnerable and hunted.” This is the kind of person who is the ideal interim solution for any school, and I believe a well-managed interim experience will get the very best out of a teacher for the benefit of the pupils.
The relentless focus on new teachers and the energy and passion they can bring into the classroom has eroded the confidence of older teachers. The hype about Teach First doesn’t help, so it is no surprise to hear reports of a widespread exodus of older teachers leaving the profession. Mind you, Teach First’s retention rates are pretty unimpressive with the TES reporting that “Teach First has the lowest retention rate of any teacher training route for which data is available”.
So here’s a shout-out for those great class-room teachers who want to regain that sense of independence and autonomy and to make a real difference! We want to hear from you!
Peter Cobrin entered teaching by accident in 1981 to provide cover for a few days and stayed at the same school for 15 years first as a teacher of history and politics, then head of department and de facto head of sixth form. Later in his career he was a lead adviser in the Building Schools for the Future programme and now he is a key member of the First Class Education family, focusing on innovation and special projects.
Read the original article here, or, if you are a Teacher looking for opportunities in Primary, Secondary, SEN or Support Staff roles, please get in touch to find out how First Class Education can help you.