As ever, this morning I read the Guardian’s Secret Teacher article. I do it almost every week. Sometimes I share it, sometimes I comment. But almost always, I get cross.
I understand that the aim of the Secret Teacher is to blow the whistle (albeit anonymously) on schools and staff who treat others badly or have an ethos of bad practice in their schools. The Secret Teacher aims to promote debate and discussion. But in this time of recruitment crisis, when teachers are flocking to leave the profession, why on earth are we sharing such horror stories so widely without providing the contrasting positive views?
I realise that many, many teachers have awful experiences, and we need to ensure that these situations are not replicated elsewhere, but there are hundreds of thousands of us teachers out there with positive stories and experiences to share. We need to encourage dedicated young (or even not so young) people into schools, and we aren’t going to do that through forums like the Secret Teacher articles.
Why isn’t there anywhere to share the positive stories? The people who have been in the profession for years, who haven’t been beaten into the ground by unmanageable workloads, who haven’t fallen prey to unrealistic SLTs and who haven’t given up all hope on the youth of today? I’m one of those teachers. I started writing my blog so that I could share my positivity, and I know that many others do the same. But we can never even hope to have the readership that the Guardian does.
I know the negativity pulls in the readers – heart wrenching, difficult or traumatic stories always do – but positivity can promote debate too. I should know: I approached the Guardian months ago to write a positive ST article. They published my article (although it was very, VERY different from what I proposed), but not as an ST piece. It didn’t need to be anonymous. But it certainly promoted debate. I stopped reading the comments very quickly as most made me either angry or upset. However, it proved that positivity can be well read: It had almost 1500 shares directly from the website and hundreds of retweets on Twitter.
So many of my PLN on Twitter share my positive ethos. We need to do so much more to promote it rather than sharing the negative views we are bombarded with from the press on a daily basis. So here’s my stand as the Not-So-Secret-Teacher.
It’s not catchy, I know, but here’s my headline:
Teacher loves job, manages workload, has a fantastic SLT and loves her children.
I don’t need to be anonymous: I don’t care who knows it.
I know that many of you reading this may not have the same experiences as me, but please, please share this and help to start putting more positive views out there for others to read. Let’s start something here: share your positive views using #NotSecretTeacher or #postapositive on Staffrm. Share the teaching love!