Dear Santa: Teaching Hopes for 2024 …

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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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If teachers wrote a letter to Santa Claus requesting gifts for the teaching profession, what would they ask for to improve standards?

For several years, I have been sharing my wishes for the teaching profession in an annual letter to Father Christmas, reflecting on the current challenges of the teaching profession …

“Dear Santa,

No academic year is without progress or setbacks. As Christmas approaches, I write this letter hoping that it reaches you at the North Pole, and that one or two policyholders will read it too!

Teaching wishes for the year …

1. Education is not just about academic achievement. It’s about nurturing well-rounded individuals. I wish policymakers would recognise a curriculum that emphasises emotional intelligence, creativity, and academic pathways.  We still have NO news from the DfE on missed (2022) English Baccalaureate targets. The policy is not working!

2. Santa, teachers are lifelong learners, but this does not translate into professional learning due to the nature of their role or sometimes where they choose to work. We need a more equitable approach to teacher training supported by various branches of educational research.

3. The pandemic has shown us that traditional assessment methods are not the only way, although we know teacher assessment is biased. I wish for a continued evolution in assessment strategies, focusing more on supporting all students, not some.

4. On the bright side, teacher mental health awareness has grown, with schools increasingly attentive to teachers’ pressures. However, (reported) workload is reducing but remains high overall, impacting teachers’ personal lives.

5. Teachers need a stronger voice in educational policy-making. The Department for Education and Ofsted have been more proactive with roundtable discussions, but a degree of cherry-picking and groupthink is still evident.

6. Technology has become an integral part of teaching, but its implementation often lacks strategic planning. We only need to look at the successes and failures of Oak Academy implementation to learn how to improve edtech policy.

7. Finally, Santa, I could not finish my letter without expressing the recent tragic story of headteacher Ruth Perry, who sadly took her own life due to stress related to an impending Ofsted report. She was silenced for three months! Inspection problems linger on for those who experience the sharp end of the wedge! I used to jokingly call Ofsted the ‘Grim Reaper’, having suffered a similar experience. However, I will now only use the phrase with caution.

Despite a new HMCI (and former school leader) starting soon, I fear radical reform is out of their hands.

The challenges, resilience and dedication of teachers I see on my travels across the UK continue to inspire me. Collectively, our teachers have the knowledge. Put simply, we are not empowered to reach our full potential.

Happy Christmas

Ross (Age, 50)

4 thoughts on “Dear Santa: Teaching Hopes for 2024 …

  1. What if a child was to write to Santa for the teaching profession?

    Dear Santa,

    Hi! I hope you and Rudolph are having fun at the North Pole. I’ve been thinking a lot about school and my teacher. So, here’s my Christmas wish list for all the teachers.

    1. More fun stuff for learning: Can we have more cool things for learning, like fun books, games, and videos? Learning is awesome, and I think it would be even more fun with extra cool stuff!

    2. Learning parties: How about having parties where teachers get to learn new things? Like, learning can be fun, right? Learning parties sound like a sick idea.

    3. Smaller classes, please: Santa could you make the classes a bit smaller? It would be lush if there were fewer kids so teachers can help everyone better. That way, we can all be super smart!

    4. Extra helpers: Can we get extra helpers for teachers? Like, maybe more teacher friends or assistants to help with everything. Teachers work really hard and extra help would be amazing.

    5. Magic learning devices: What is we had magic tablets that could do awesome teaching tricks? They could show cool things, draw stuff, and help us learn in a super magical way.

    6. Parents and teachers team up: Santa, can you help parents and teachers become a super team? If they talk and work together more, it would be like having a big family helping us learn and grow.

    7. Happy teacher days: Let’s have special days where teachers get to have lots of fun and feel happy. Maybe they could have a day off to relax, or we could give them big hugs to say thanks!

    8. Big thank you parade: Santa, what if we had a gigantic parade to say THANK YOU to all the teachers? They could wear crowns and ride on cool floats while everyone cheers and claps. Teachers would feel so special.

    Thanks a gazillion, Santa! I know these wishes might be kinda bit, but you’re best at making dreams come true. I hope you have the merriest Christmas ever!

    Hugs and candy canes,

  2. Santa thanks for the advice that education is not base on academic achievement but rather learner’s using their mind in creating things.

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