Teaching Is Attracting Career-Changers

This morning I attended a
half-day training session on Learning and Teaching in Musselburgh, part of
East Lothian Education's year-long. probationer training programme. This is a varied selection of 18 or so training sessions covering topics including: teacher wellbeing; behaviour management; child protection; additional support needs and reporting to parents.

This was yet another piece of the teaching jigsaw I didn't know about until recently. Because I'm a trained-years-ago returner, and not on the
Teacher Induction Scheme , I'm employed as a supply teacher. That has meant I've been out of the loop, and just didn't know these events were available. Neither, it seems, did Liz Surridge, who runs the programme, know that I was around. Having discovered that they were on, from another TIS probationer, I was pleased to get a warm welcome to attend.

There was a larger number there than I'd expected, probably over 50, although I didn't count. At one point
Don Ledingham , who was running the session, asked how many had come into teaching from a previous career. I guess about 2/3 put their hands up, which surprised me – and him. Maybe the
drive to recruit new teachers is now pulling people in from other careers in bigger numbers than before?

Today's Agenda included:

  • a discussion of an observed lesson report
  • a quiz about what we thought made a good teacher
  • a debate on student motivation
  • a personality self-assessment about key teaching characteristics
  • a self-evaluation, using a lesson evaluation support sheet from
    Dunbar Grammar School, of strengths and development needs – all based on the lesson we were teaching at 10.15 on Tuesday!
  • an intro to
    A Curriculum for Excellence, and East Lothian's
    initial ideas in response

There was an opportunity to contribute to the curriculum debate, which seemed to surprise some participants, who didn't seem to feel qualified, or experienced enough, to contribute. There's no question about it: education has become so complex, so fast-changing and so unpredictable that it's simply not possible – if it ever was – for a small group of senior managers, no matter how experienced, to make all the right decisions and solve all the messy problems. I plan to spend some more time reading up on this change…

Not working this afternoon, but got a phone call over lunch from the other, very experienced, supply teacher covering the same timetable to check what days would suit me to work next week. Felt a bit reassured, somehow, to hear that her morning hadn't been trouble-free – it's not just me!

In today's Guardian read a piece,
Sounds Like Teen Spirit , about a new website,
SoundJunction, designed to let young people with no access to instruments or tuition have an opportunity to explore and create music. Made the mistake of showing it to my son, who then took over the PC… It also mentions
Boom! children's music video project. I must talk to Jim Cramb about this; it's possibly another thing he could use for Preston Lodge's PLTV.