Below is my response to an article written by Francis Gilbert (one of the founders of the Local Schools Network) entitled ‘What is Good Teaching and How Can We Encourage It?’ The piece begins with Gilbert explaining that he’s just been on Newsnight. He goes on to say that the majority of the discussion on Newsnight was about whether performance-related-pay (PRP) will improve teaching standards. I decided to comment on PRP:
So it was off to central London today to take part in a march and rally ostensibly about pay and pensions; my good old placard (https://jennycollinsteacher.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/homemade-nut-strike-placard/) was spotted by three different news organisations who all interviewed me. The placard stood out because it was homemade and also because it didn’t just say ‘Gove Out’ but instead made some attempt to draw attention to the reasons behind the current attacks on teachers and schools (marketisation). Here are the three websites that carried out the interviews.
At one point a fellow protesting teacher reacted to the line on the placard that reads ‘Marketise, Monetise: Tory, Labour: All the Same’ by asking ‘What alternative do we have?’ I suggested a cabinet that was not made up of millionaires – i.e. genuinely representative – as one example of a preferable alternative. Later on I was approached by an Argentinian couple, one of whom was a teacher, who looked at the placard and told me “We are having just the same problems in Argentina, only worse”.
I was also approached by somebody who wanted to know who Joel Klein was, a name written on my placard. It interested me that this person, the only person to ask me about the names on the placard, retired from teaching ten years ago having taught for forty years. I don’t think teachers of this generation are asking the right questions; they seem pretty naive. I don’t see the NUT as a tough union and I’m not convinced teachers in this country are up for a fight. As far as I can see this is down to a lack of knowledge about their own circumstances combined with both a sceptical attitude towards any sort of political posturing and a lame ‘I’d rather be shopping’ type apathy.
It was good to see the Firefighters out in strength on the same march. They had a good sense of solidarity to them with matching Fire Brigades Union T-shirts, partners and children in tow and even playing some music (‘Get Up, Stand Up’ by Bob Marley, not the most original of choices perhaps but appropriate enough and a welcome, cheerful sound).
I also met one of the people behind this intriguing blog: http://www.theunlessonmanifesto.blogspot.com It is similar to this blog for a number of reasons . It’s the first blog I’ve found that is.