Stop, start, continue: 50 years in teaching

This post is inspired by Stop, Start, Continue: Conceptual Understanding Meets Applied Problem Solving a blog post on Edutopia via @DavidBHawley.

Calling all politicians, inspectors and managers

I think David Hawley’s start, stop, continue proposals should be adapted for those who would regulate, inspect and manage teachers. How can we create the conditions that will inspire a generation of new teachers? Is it possible to train to teach at the age of 21 and teach until the age of 71? Does the promise of teaching for 50 years brighten the eyes and lighten the hearts of new graduates? Is 50 years in teaching a dream come true? Continue reading


Training to teach 30 years ago and today

I have been going through some of my Mum’s and Dad’s stuff: years of collected travel brochures, postcards, photos and so on. Today, I found a letter I sent during my PGCE course at Goldsmiths’ College in London. I qualified to teach 30 years ago in 1986. I had forgotten my apprehension. Where will I live? Can I afford it? Will I be okay in charge of a class?

This is the letter.

Dear Mum and Dad, Continue reading

How to retain teachers

In the debate over teacher retention we are in danger of distraction from a simple truth. The old clichéd call that we want teachers for whom teaching is a vocation resulted in a limited debate about teachers’ workload and an expectation that dedicated and hard-working teachers would not need time with their families and friends. But we should not be lulled into a false sense of security by the recent attention this issue has received from the DfE. Business as usual has seen a rush to make intuitively motivated or even whimsical changes to the national curriculum, the inspection framework, teacher training, and school governance. Meanwhile anything to do with teacher wellbeing is left for local solutions to be tentatively, slowly and deliberately mulled over. Continue reading

Angry about algebra

I have noticed that some people are angry about algebra; it is very serious. Such feelings about algebra are not commensurate with feelings about a computer crashing and being out of order for a day. Such feelings about algebra are not similar to feelings about getting soaked by a heavy rain shower because the weather forecast was wrong. And such feelings about algebra are not congruent with the feelings of inadequacy of the first evictee of the Big Brother House. It is a state of being angry, furious and wrathfully incensed. Continue reading