One of the reasons teachers like being teachers is that we think are IT; the bee’s feckin’ knees. I mean all that hard work, those badly behaved children, the night time marking, the government policy changes and mistakes, angry parents, those people saying “I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t do your job”, all the paperwork getting in the way of doing the job, buying resources for your lessons out of your own pocket. Heavens above! Aren’t we just the saints, martyrs and heroes of our town?
Or maybe, just maybe, teachers should stop the self love for a minute and consider the whole school, all the people working there and what they do to earn their pay and to keep the place functioning. Could teachers do these jobs? I’d wager a pound to a button we couldn’t.
Exams officer – What if you entered the wrong code or missed out one student from the list or put in the wrong mark? What is it like getting all those year 11 pupils, maybe 200+ of them, in total silence into the school hall?
Cleaner – You’ve already gone home for tea and marking, but in your absence, out of your sight your room is tidied up. Everyday all those scraps of paper are picked and hoovered up from your classroom floor. And just how do you think those squashed sandwiches from behind the bin disappear by the time you come back the next morning?
Bus Driver – Can you imagine 50 of them after a whole day at school, high on the elixir of 3:15pm and desperate to settle old scores and eat sweets, while you are tying to drive them safely home through town centre traffic?
Canteen worker – Think about that lunchtime rush, the chaos of the queue, children unhappy at their meal options, that tearful little year 7 without enough money and dealing with the snide jokes and complaints.
TA – There you are having to sit one-to-one for a whole hour with that child who hates you and then for the next 60 minutes with an only just arrived in the country , not a word of English pupil. There’s a relationship intensity there teachers at the front of the room rarely experience
Supply teacher – They have to teach the same class without the daily comforts permanent teachers have filled the nest with along the way…. Picking up pieces of lesson instruction while being uncertain of school systems and protocol. On the hoof in front of pupils who see her as less than their real teacher. Working amongst the feeling of abandonment.
Receptionist – On the front line and exposed to angry parents, lost pupils, urgent messages and favours for disorganised teachers
Head’s PA – Probably the biggest and best secret keeper in the building. All those things to organise and organise calmly. Oh, and running the school when the head is away for the day at a meeting.
Attendance officer – Having to suggest to parents (the ones who probably place little value on school and school workers) face to face that maybe, just maybe, they could raise their child in a different (don’t mention better) manner.
Site manager – How do you keep the buildings upright and safe on sod all budget?
NQT – Do you remember what it was like to start teaching? Planning ALL those lessons for the first time? Teaching 14 completely new classes whom you have never met before?
Headteacher (or whatever they’re called now) – People who on work more hours than you do. Who have to go to ALL those evening events and meetings. People who have the spotlight of all parts of the inspections and all parts of the exam results focussed brightly on them.
So why don’t we get off our high horse a for a while and appreciate or least notice that others are also doing a hard job. Maybe we could begin by not using phrases like “teachers and support staff” or defining jobs at school as teachers and non-teachers. That would be a start.