The teacher oath, the latest policy from Tristram Hunt, who says a public oath for teachers would emphasise the “moral calling and the noble profession of teaching” and display their commitment.
This policy, newly imported from Singapore, has caused both anger and hilarity, with a number of parody oaths appearing this morning on Twitter under the hashtag #teacheroath, many apparently mocking the suggestion.
One teacher wrote:”#teacheroath I swear to follow education policies thought up by people with no relevant experience apart from the fact they went to school.” Such is the state of labours current (lack of ) education policy.
For the past year of teacher training, I have been hermetically sealed away in a world awash with paper, marking books, planning, re-planning, creating resources. Working till 12 at night, up at 6 o’clock this next morning ready to teach and start the cycle again. Not even a rest at weekends. No wonder my parents said I looked horrific! During this time, I battled constant illness not helped by exhaustion, the pressures of learning a new curriculum while some schools stood in a limbo between the old and new, and the stress shared by other teachers trying to make it all work.
I don’t mean to moan and there are positives, the positive being in many cases you are making a difference to children who may not have the best start in life. But you do need commitment to do this and reach the last day of placement, which coincided with an ofsted visit!
Hunt’s policy of ‘teacher oaths’ is at best a meaningless soundbite sized policy, at worst an insulting implication that the thousands of teachers up and down the country like myself lack the necessary commitment. This is a distraction from the other issues facing teachers and education including lack of school places for a rising population, rising class sizes, funding being diverted to Gove’s pet project of free schools, I could go on.
All this policy has served to give teachers a bit of a titter on twitter and may have alienated many teachers from voting labour at the next election. If I was a member of Oftsed, I would grade this policy ‘inadequate’ and I feel Labour’s policy ‘requires improvement.’ You could do better Mr Hunt.