I attended a debate by the RSA and Teach First last week exploring what makes a good teacher. Sir Michael Wilshaw spoke first, regaling tales of two particular teachers who impressed him when he was Head Teacher at Mossbourne Academy. In essence he concluded that a good teacher at A-Level, GCSE or any other level is someone who is themselves in the classroom and can convey their passion to their students. If you’re faking it or trying to be someone you’re not in front of a class of teenagers, they’ll see straight through it!
The following two motivating speeches were made by a Headmaster of a new academy and a Teach First ambassador. I couldn’t help but be rather moved by their passionate stories of teachers who have tackled adversity in the classroom and achieved the seemingly impossible with students. I felt uplifted and positive that the education system really can be revolutionised, one teacher at a time.
After a sterling round of applause, Matthew Taylor, the Chief Executive of the RSA takes to the lectern. We must remember, he says, as in every profession with a workforce of over half a million, there will be good teachers and there will be bad teachers. All we can hope to do is move the curve on the graph so more teachers are good than bad.
My initial reaction to this ‘un-sugared’ reality pill was annoyance! How dare he bring me back down to earth with such a bump after I’d just been so inspired by the speakers before! But then reality kicks in after a split second and of course, he is entirely right. In every sector there are good and bad professionals. There are good, bad and average lawyers, builders, dentists and bank managers. The difference is we can choose our lawyer, builder, dentist or bank manager.
So the moral of the story?
You CAN’T choose your teacher but you CAN choose your tutor!
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