I just thought I would take the time to write something about my profession, which is teaching. In particular, I would like to focus on diversity in teaching. However, I want to talk about diversity in teaching from a different perspective. By this I mean, diversity of thought, creativity and processes among others.
In our profession there are often many hoops that we have to jump through for various bodies.
I work in a variety of educational settings and as such they all have different ways of working and expect different things of the lecturers, teachers, tutors or whatever the many other titles they give to educators is. I am usually called all 3 at various times.
The expectations of me from the various establishments I work in vary greatly. They range from being given a largely free reign to deliver my teaching as I see fit, to having to complete numerous pieces of paper to justify my existence or so it would seem.
There of course has to be a plan of action in order to meet our learners’ needs but I do often wonder why as educators we have to complete schemes of work (an outline plan of the whole term or length of course) and lesson plans?
In my experience the best lessons I have ever had are when I have a general idea in my head of what I need and want to cover. I then follow the lesson through responding to learners’ needs as appropriate. This does often mean that I have a range of teaching materials that I may or may not use, but the lessons themselves are often a great success.
One of the greatest enlightening moments for me (which I stumbled upon by chance) has been, rather than seeing the necessary forms to complete being viewed as bureaucracy; instead to look on them as part of the lesson. This has helped me to view them not as bureaucracy but rather as practical ‘real life’ examples for students. This has the given students practice at everyday skills like completing forms.
Best practice would say that you plan your scheme of work and then lessons to meet the aforementioned. All of these should ultimately help you to achieve your goal. I do agree that you need an idea of where you want to be and plan accordingly but this should be left up to individual teachers to decide how they implement this. After all the best measure of success is students’ achievements.
I do however think there is far too much bureaucracy involved in teaching and despite every government saying over the years that they want to reduce the amount of paperwork, it has steadily increased. In my personal experience I have felt that this has led to my creativity being stifled.
Sometimes when planning lessons, it can take me 3 times as long as the lesson actually lasts. Clearly this can be viewed as a waste of time.
Let me get back to the bureaucracy itself. I believe that the amount of it is suited to a particular type of teacher. In my opinion, this is the kind of teacher who needs or prefers to see things written down and who has a very analytical and organised brain. Over the years we have lost a lot of teachers who have complained about the amount of paperwork they have to complete.
The result of this is that, there is a lack of diversity in teaching. I don’t believe and I am sure that many of my colleagues would agree that we don’t want to create robotic students who are all the same. So, why then when it comes to the very profession that is responsible for facilitating learning do we expect all teachers to operate in the same way? I am of the strong opinion that we are losing far too many people who would love to teach but are dissuaded from doing so for fear of bureaucracy.
Therefore the question to ask ourselves is. Do we want all teachers to be constrained by bureaucracy or do we want to unleash creativity?
I would very much welcome other peoples’ insights in this area, and then we can truly engage in debate about the future of the teaching profession.