Saturday, 20 April 2013

Not the Greatness of the Linguists, but the Ungreatness of the Pay

I absolutely loved Maths. Then the wonderful Miss Swindells had retired. The new Maths teacher was presented to us as having double honours from Oxford. [What she didn't have was any noticeable teaching skills.]

I spent most of my Maths lessons in Year Ten [Lower Fifth as it was then], perfecting the art of playing dots with my pal, Jane H. 

I wrote to the papers thus:

In your article 1/4/13 a department for education spokeswoman said, "Independent schools . . . Already hire brilliant people who do not have . . QTS. We have extended this flexibility. " So is "brilliant" a new technical term then, maybe introduced to the DFE by the late and very much not lamented Education Leeds?

The spokeswoman suggests that all academies can hire "great linguists" etc who have not worked in state schools before. No great linguist would be seen dead in a state school for the money that unqualified teachers are paid. It's not the greatness of the linguistics that this is about but the ungreatness of the pay you can give them.

And parents beware. I look back to my days at high school in Leeds, where I was always joint top of the class with my friend, Kathy, of course, in everything, including Maths until little Miss Double Honours from Oxford turned up. After that I went back to being a linguist - at least the Latin and French teachers knew how to teach!

Being a good teacher, in my opinion, is about three things - talent, training and experience. Then it 's about working in a supportive environment so that you can work to your best. And not in the oppressive atmosphere that is Ofsted roaming around the country like a veritable dementor sucking the life and the joy out of schooling and childhood.

Victoria Jaquiss FRSA, (qualified teacher)

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