Thursday, 18 February 2016

The incomprehensible garbage that is CfE

It is not only children and parents who are victims. This comment speaks volumes:
"Indeed, I may have been mistaken… but this is unsurprising. As teachers we get told `this, that and the next thing needs done`. However, we never know who asks us to do it. Who are they? Whose agenda are we (teachers) following? It turns out every layer of the tree has its word to say, so that in their audit, they are seen to have ticked boxes. Government, Teaching Scotland, SQA, Council educational services, and finally schools. Each layer interprets the idea in their own way, multiplying evidence processes to the point that, on the ground, we cannot budge! Never mind the adverse effects of CfE on education, I’d like to know its impact on paper production!"


"Thus, as a teacher, I don’t know who to blame for my woes. I accept that we have an input in it, but this is on top of all of our other duties…therefore the input is minimal. I also accept that by relinquishing my input to non-educational managers, I am partly to blame for CfE being lost in a bureaucratic quagmire. However, as stated above, as a foot soldier, my input can only have a minimal impact."

"Maybe the solution is for Academia to get more involved. Whatever… is what I want to say. Give me a hammer with a grip on the handle is all I want. At the moment, I am hammering with a gripless hammer which has soap on the shaft! My efficiency level is remarkably good considering I have only bent half the nails!"

"Dear University professors and Academia at large, CfE, or, The Scottish Curriculum -  if you have your way, is an absolute nightmare to work with on the frontline. It is woolly, unclear in its aims and in its communication. I am a classroom teacher. I consider myself as a foot soldier. It does not mean that I have no brains, but it also means that I have not decided to `breathe` education.  I actually doubt that I have the vision to come with any significant ideas for change."

"What I need is something clear.  Stakeholders who agree what school is for and also recognise what is practically possible.  And powers that be (read Councils, Cosla, Government) that understand that I am human and cannot be incessantly squeezed right, left and centre by everyone and remain motivated, efficient and inspiring."

"What I don’t need, is screeds of weirdly worded jargon. I don’t need people in powerful places wanting their names on a plaque by ... `reforming the system` or `making efficiencies in schools`."

"As a society, I accept that we must strive for getting better. However, we cannot do this by setting a whole system based on a utopian `teacher` type who will have no life and whose only care is the betterment of pupils. That person, if they exist at all, only exists for a short amount of time at the coal face ( a couple of years at most) before it is beaten out of them by life, politicians, pupils, parents and unwilling colleagues. Teachers are not nuns and monks who decided to marry Education. They are people, who like working with young people and who are trying to do a job."

"That job needs to be achievable (let’s stop with aspirational statements that become policies!),  clearly stated in plain English and manageable over a long meaningful career (how can you have an experienced positive workforce if people either leave physically by quitting or leave mentally by actively aiming at skirting off all the `rubbish` to make something manageable)."

"Do you want to talk about narrative?  What’s the point of a system that breaks down its practitioners into being shifty people who doggedly hang in there for their holidays?  Not that they started that way, they just become disillusioned by the process (bureaucratic, unwieldy) when what we deal with is youth  (dynamic, fickle, able to jump sideways to avoid work or consequences).  How can you be accountable to the point we are now asked with such clearly starkly contrasting media? "

"I make no claims at being a `great teacher`.  I am ok.  I am reliable (no matter how much nonsensical aspirational rubbish I am given, I will stand in front of my class without breaking down).  I try to give pupils a good deal within the time I am ready to dedicate to my job.  I mean to remain a teacher for a while.  However, I can guarantee that I have never taught as badly as I am now -  asked to monitor, track, evaluate, produce assessments (isn’t that SQA job?), aspire pupils, reassure parents.  Sorry but the spark is truly dying in the drafts created by this maelstrom!"

"I have now taken a seat back…like that recalcitrant child. I am `scunnered` by the process.  In brief, the system is no longer getting the best out of me because it came with far too many mixed messages, incomprehensible garbage and plainly unrealistic goals."

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