Thursday, 24 March 2011

Disturbing trends

I am not really sure whether or not this is a 'trend' or not; since it has been going on for at least 20 years. But I was having a chat with one of our excellent teachers from the State education system who was expressing some disquiet about work practices in schools.
I find it deeply sad that someone who has been a teacher for 25 years should feel that the 'system' continues to get worse.
Her particular little story related to her interview with her 'line manager'.
I find this terminology interesting any way...why should what once was a senior teacher, or deputy head now be termed a line manager. Does no one actually seem to realise the use of such terminology actually betrays what is, at least part of, the problem.
ie. That industrial/management procedures seem to have replaced educational practices and understandings.
Schools are not 'workplaces' or 'factories' and indeed one might have thought the 'system' should be working against describing them in such a way.
She did not however bring her objections to that terminology that was my silent observation...what she was ropeable about the fact that this young 'whipper snipper' ("Who does he think he is I have been a classroom teacher for over 20 years?") was telling her that she noiw implement the WOW program.
Yes, the inevitable acronym.
And WOW would stand for.....?
Watch Others Work.

The idea being that you should pay closer attention to how your colleagues get it right (or I suppose wrong) and copy it (or not).
Now this is just facile stuff. And deserves the derision this teacher was giving it. Any teacher who works in a corporate environment has done this from day one. It's a survival strategy, a learning tool, not a new management program.
One can imagine that it might be useful to share with very junior teachers this crass strategy, but my impression is that teachers in our excellent schools are very attentive to their colleagues and watching to see what works.
No wonder the teaching workforce is demoralised if this is what passes for staff development.

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