In my teaching career so far, I have worked in 5 different schools. Without naming them, just referring to them as Schools A,B,C,D & E, I shall score them on the following categories:

1: Location and facilities

2: Children

3: Senior management

4: Other members of staff

5: Parents

School A –

1: Approximately a 10-15 minute from my house. The school was a single level building from approximately the 1970s, but the area I actually worked in had been built later and was about 8 years old when I got to it. 4/5

2: A mixture of social and private housing, but, as you’d expect in the very heart of London commuter land, there was little in the way of proper down-and-outs. Certainly none of the casual neglect of children that I went on to see later in other schools… There were little to no behaviour issues beyond the norm. Or certainly not in the younger classes I dealt with. 4/5

 

3: This is where it fell down badly, where myself, (and I subsequently found out later) teachers both before and after me, were targeted in vicious campaigns of work-place bullying. With excellent support from my teaching union, I left with a very substantial tax-free cash settlement, rather than push the school into a tribunal case, of which I would have won. Many years later, given the chance, I’d have to work very hard not to punch them in the face. Luckily for them, I’ve not seen any of them since, and the main culprit was herself fired some 18 months later. A great day. 0/5

4: With just one disappointing exception, all the other staff in the school were very pleasant. I’m no longer in an significant contact with any of them, beyond one or two FB “friends”. Not really a conscious decision, but perhaps my subconscious making an effort to draw a line under the whole affair. 3/5

5: I never had any major problems with parents that I recall. A few minor blips early in my NQT year because university never taught us, or indeed even mentioned, how to deal with parents. All blips were easily resolved, and indeed, some of those parents I had clashes with early on went on to become something bordering friends. 5/5

 

Total Score: 16/25

 

School B –

There was an 8 month break between leaving school A and starting school B. Rather more from luck, rather than judgement, I ended up back in the area where I grew up.

1: An approximately 10 minute drive from my house. Again, very convenient and easy to get to. An (I’m guessing) 1980s build. So reasonably modern, as schools go. But mostly decked out in an unattractive shade of muddy green that I never grew to like. 4/5

2: Some more complex needs here in terms of children and behaviours. A fair amount of EAL, which presents challenges at times. A couple of children came from particularly difficult backgrounds. One in particular it was easy to identify would have no hope/no chance of breaking free of his circumstances without serious interventions from other agencies. The children like that, whom you can identify at 4 or 5 years of age, are hard to see. They will never break free of the cycle of drugs, drink and violence that makes up their “every day”. 3/5

3: I never had a problem with the SMT. They were uniformly distant, inexperienced and uninterested in my area of the school. They basically left us alone most of the time, and after my experiences of SMT at School A, I was quite content with that arrangement. 4/5

4: My most immediate team were great people, who I really enjoyed working with. There were a few personality clashes with other teachers from the Key Stage above us. They thought they were the bees-knees and made no effort to hide their distain/dislike of us. In the end, the feeling was more than mutual. I actually bumped into one of them at a course earlier this year, and it only reminded me that she is a singularly unpleasant person. 3/5

5: There was only one parent I ever clashed with. It was one of the dads. A HUGE man of at least 6”6. So when he ranted at me in the playground one day, while his wife hid, embarrassed, round the corner, I had to leave the conversation. The next day, I invited him inside to SIT DOWN and continue the conversation in private. He seemed utterly flabbergasted when I informed him it was NOT appropriate for a 6”6 man to tower angrily over a 5”3 woman. To his credit, he took the information on board and apologised. 4/5

 

Total Score: 18/25

Other schools to follow in the next couple of days!

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