Dear Santa: Teaching Hopes for 2016 …

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What is the true meaning of teaching?

This is my message to Father Christmas.

This is a short and simple post to ask my readers this Christmas, what is the true meaning of teaching?

Thank you:

Firstly, I would like to thank all my readers who follow me on social media and read my blog regularly. I am pleased to see so many teachers sharing good practice online; spreading good ideas and breaking bad ones; looking to develop their own practice as well as challenge policy and watchdog. This is my wish for Christmas. To see more and more teachers connect and share best practice; to challenge policy and shape the landscape of education for our students.

What would you wish for?

shutterstock_120890980 Santa Claus pulling huge bag full of christmas presents isolated on white background

Image: Shutterstock

All Together:

The blogging community is a force to be reckoned with, but it is so easy for is all to be lost along the way; arguing amongst ourselves; promoting knowledge or skills; or progressive versus traditional teaching methods. Whatever it may be, or whatever the latest fad is this season, at this time of the year we should all remember that we are all in it together.

We are all in education because we want to improve the life chances of all students in the country.  We all want our children to reach their full potential. This includes the most vulnerable and hardest to reach students in our society, pupil premium and the privileged. It doesn’t matter who, every child deserves a good education.

Dear Santa:

This is my letter to Santa.

Dear Santa, I would like to wish for;

shutterstock_111366560 Santa Claus pointing in white blank sign with smile, isolated on white background

Image: Shutterstock

  1. All teachers to have more time to mark and plan lessons.
  2. School inspections to be less high-stakes; and for the four-scale measurement to reduce from outstanding, good requires improvement and special measures to simply ‘good’ or ‘not yet good’.
  3. For any future, elected, Secretary of State for Education, to be an ex-classroom practitioner.
  4. To stop the EBacc nonsense immediately.
  5. For the DfE to recognise that university is not the only option for a child.
  6. To leave curriculum and examinations alone for a period (at least!) and re-introduce modular components into courses.
  7. Review the schools direct route into teaching. It is not working and schools need more flexibility to recruit teachers.
  8. To celebrate, share and promote the success of teachers all over the UK. We need more positive media stories.
  9. As part of our drive to improve well-being, offer one-week sabbaticals accruing year on year for each year in service.
  10. Finally, to allow all teachers to cash-in one duvet day per term!

Imagine that? 3 days per year in bed; paid to work at home!

shutterstock_205433167 Peaceful man sleeping in bed at home in the bedroom

Image: Shutterstock

Happy Christmas everyone!


@TeacherToolkit logo new book Vitruvian man TT

15 thoughts on “Dear Santa: Teaching Hopes for 2016 …

  1. Careful what you wish for 🙂 For example #1 Teachers to have more time. We could open schools 6 or 7 days a week or extend the school day and achieve this (A certain Mrs Morgan may be listening remember!)

    Seriously though a great list.

    I would include:
    1) a mandatory 1 year sabbatical after 5 years (I have reasons for this figure) of teaching. It would be planned and supported by the school and involve a period of reflection, study, school walks in different schools (county and country as well as sector or phase) and learning (different to study).
    2) The role of management and leadership to focus on enabling (removing barriers), coaching (helping develop insight and vision) and mentoring (developing skills) rather than monitoring or driving.
    3) To explode the myth that there is “one way” to teach or to learn and that we must pursue this at all costs.
    4) To stop labeling things: people, ways or anything else. Education really is seduced by labels.
    5) To value understanding more than knowing.
    6) For teachers to work out what they want to know before they ask questions (It may stop the round of ridiculous examination answers each year too)

    I must stop there, this is getting to be a long list!

    1. Absolutely love #5 on a great list of additions to a great initial list! The great thing, I believe, is that IF students understand, they are more likely to remember – as in being able to use, much more valuable than know…

      My Wish: That teachers develop empathetic / trusting relationships with students as they facilitate the students’ development of skills associated with effective learning AND facilitate the experience using those skills!

      1. I’ve downloaded the links and look forward to Considering them in a few days when the holiday excitement subsides a little. Thanks!!!

  2. Ross and Kevin:

    Just to say that I fully approve of the idea of giving teachers more time, but recognise that we have to address the teacher supply issue before we can do that. I would LOVE to see teachers all working for four days each week – but pupils attending for five. I’m sure there would be ways of making it work logistically, as long as there were enough teachers in the system to cover it. I do wonder whether teacher recruitment and retention might improve significantly if teachers were given more time and breathing space – even if their pay were reduced.

    That would be my dream.

    Happy Christmas to you both.

  3. Duvet days are a great idea! Looking after your staff should be one of the main priorities. Maybe I’ll mention this idea in my next SMT meeting in the New Year…

  4. Students to be accountable for their progress (or lack of it) and not teachers. In my 27 years of teaching and working so hard to help my charges, I find that nearly every student gets what they deserve.

    Parents and Students to “buy” (not literally) into their education…

  5. I would add more CPD specially for supply teachers. Teachers have to gain new skills, that can help develop other teaching approaches or bring more creativity within the classroom.

  6. Here in the Netherlands you get a choice. Either have five recuperation days or save them up for five years and have a month off or trade them in for a bit more pay.

    It’s depressing to see how many people choose to have cash instead of free time.

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