Secondary School English Teacher - history, values and ethos

I don’t know if you feel the same way but to me schools seem to be trapped in a cycle. Some of my teacher friends, who have now retired, helped me to recognize the pattern.

Schools seem to always be moving from initiative to initiative. New Head = new initiative. New Head of Department/Director of Faculty (see here’s one - why did the name of this job role have to change?) = new ideas, new visions and new initiative...

But whichever way they take the school, they will always be between the polar regions of didactic, more exclusive, teaching led teaching & learning styles to holistic, inclusive, group work and discussion led T&L.

During your training year, you start the discovery about where you fall as a teacher, what your teaching style is and what you believe education is all about. It is like being a child again - you compare yourself constantly with your peers and with your mentor and strive to be something. Eventually you become the kind of teacher you’re going to become. You accept your faults. You forgive yourself - remember you can only work so many hours a day. You strive for success in your own way and with the students’ best interests at heart.

It can be very disheartening and difficult when you are working in a school or under leadership that does not match your own ethos and moral values of education. And as new leaders come in, there can be a sudden shift. It’s unsettling having the rug pulled from under your feet and it’s not always easy to speak up or speak out.

The only thing you can do is stay true to yourself, do your best for all of the students and support your colleagues. Ignore prejudice. Avoid negative energy. Find opportunities to laugh. Give someone a hug. Eat healthily. Get some fresh air. Give yourself a weekend off once in a while. Give the students a weekend off too.

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