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What Teachers Tapped This Week #40 - 2nd July 2018

1 July 2018

It’s July! How did it get to be July so fast?

Heat Wave Cat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This means less than a month left of school. And around 2,300 Teacher Tappsters who answered this week’s questions agree that it’s pretty exciting too….

1. Summer one!

A whopping ZERO per cent of teachers disagreed with the statement ‘I am looking forward to the summer break’. That said, 1% of teachers neither agree nor disagree. As with pupils, one never knows what someone’s summer might have in store.

Seeing as we are thinking about the end of the year, we thought we’d get your wisdom on gifts. Most teachers have been there. Your friend texts and asks what’s an appropriate present for your their lovely year 4 teacher.

Now you can authoritatively answer: alcohol. 

If you’re a bit uneasy sending your 8-year-old in with a six packet of Stella, then the second favoured gift was a thank you card made by the pupil. It might be better for the teacher’s liver, too!

2. Who’d want to be a teacher?

Although many of you are looking forward to the summer, it’s good that so many of you are also looking forward to returning back in September.

Particularly good news is the enthusiasm among senior leaders, because this week we officially learnt from DfE that we have a teacher recruitment crisis!

Note that headteachers are the most excited about returning to school. Though this isn’t surprising when you realise they are perennial swots.

Teachers may be happy about returning in September – but if they were 21 again, would they still advise themselves to become a teacher, especially if starting salaries across the profession were equal? The question particularly matters in light of attractive new graduate schemes for other professions, such as prison guarding and social work.

On the upside, the results show that most teachers would still advise their younger self to go into teaching. On the downside, the two professions that people think they would jump into – accounting and the law – are also desperate for graduates,particularly women, and are likely to start muscling in on the teaching profession over the next few years.

HOWEVER – it may not be so easy to steal the graduates! When we look at who picked which alternative job we see that accountancy and law are nowhere near as attractive to newer teachers as they are to older ones. Teachers in the classroom for fewer than five years were as likely to pick social work, the police, or mental health work, as they were to pick accountancy. Competition from those graduate schemes could therefore be a serious problem for teaching.

With a teacher crisis in full swing, teachers ought to be on the look out for anyone who wants to enter the profession and dragging them in with both arms. It was therefore positive to see 76% of teachers saying they would be encouraging or very encouraging if a high-achieving and affable pupil said they wanted to be a teacher. Pats on the back, unless….

… a teacher shared a story with us a few days after the question. He admitted he had clicked “very encouraging” and was 100% certain in his answer. Then, the next day, one of his brightest pupils came up to him and asked what he was doing when he was her age, because she had decided she wanted to be a teacher too.

“And I’m ashamed to say my first instinct was to tell her that she was too good for teaching! I had literally just said I would be encouraging! And yet…” (He subsequently arranged for her to do work experience working with younger pupils, so I think we can forgive him). But it goes to show that what we believe, and what we actually do, can often be very different things.

As an aside: it’s worth noting the difference between primary and secondary teachers and experience levels. It’s not a strong pattern but it does seem people are less likely to recommend the profession over time.

3. Who are the biggest influencers on your day?

Schools are mini eco-systems, but who makes the weather? Leaders will often be told they’re setting the temperature. Teachers likewise. But is it true?

The results were fairly evenly split between the head, the senior leadership, and teachers as the biggest influence on the way schools operate:

BUT did your answer depend on your role in school? Not as much as you’d think. (Except in the case of primary headteachers, who do seem to be overly confident that they are the greatest influence on day-to-day life!)

The picture for who had least influence in a school flips, and parents are on the bottom:

BUT the pattern of answers for role and phase are interesting – notice just how different headteachers are in their estimations:

Finally, we looked at which government organisations are the MOST influential. Admittedly, it was a week where Ofsted were all over the press, making several anouncements, but it still wasn’t a surprise to see them rating so highly.

This balance changed in outstanding primary schools – where only 27% of teachers picked Ofsted. In their case, the Department for Education (40%) and the Standards and Testing Agency (12%) were more important.

At secondary level, even outstanding schools put Ofsted as their most influential force.

4. One profession, divided by our subject disciplines!

It’s a truth commonly told on Teacher Tapp that we are one profession but there is a lot that divides us. We asked a few opinion questions this week and the constellation of different attitudes across subjects continues to intrigue. Find yours – is it as expected?

Also worth a ponder: Which subject most aligns with your thoughts? Is it the one you teach, or a different one?

5. Rebel teachers

Seeing as we need to find the teachers of tomorrow, which children should be we targetting to take over from us? One way to figure out is by finding the characteristics of people currently in teaching, and working backwards. For example, if lots of teachers were prefects at school then we can start targeting the current crop as future teachers!

Turns out, if we want to find the teachers of tomorrow in year 9 we need to find the kids who are NEVER in trouble.

Unfortunately, that strategy doesn’t work so well for creative or practical arts teachers – half of whom said they were in trouble at least some of the time, and 8% said they were in trouble ‘most days’!

Among the more traditional subjects, the English teachers stand out as the most rebellious. It’s all that fashionable smoking and reading 18th Century dirges. (That’s what happens if you study English, right?)

Does this accord with your experience of rebellious teachers?

6. Finally, as ever, we learned that you really love our daily tips, so here are the links for last week:

Critical consumption of CPD

Last minute curriculum cramming

John Hattie is wrong

Dual coding

Learning styles don’t exist… or do they?

How much should students struggle in your lessons?

Right folks – over and out for another week…

In the meantime, keep sharing what we are doing. Here’s a powerpoint slide (with script), a PDF, and a black-and-white one-pager to help.

Remember, we need more of you before we can do the really exciting and detailed analysis!

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