How do Teachers Really want to teach?


MagnetSchoolIf you really want an to answer to this question, you also have to ask yourself, “‘How long have I got?”, because inevitably every teacher will have a different answer. But they will also have some things in common. And the next question is of course, “how far are you actually able to teach what you want and therefore what will you, the student, see’?”

To start from the beginning, most teachers want to teach their subject, successfully, to willing students in order that they learn and complete or graduate successfully. So, you’re in your classroom or teaching online. You’ve prepared what you’re going to teach, you’ve explained it, used your resources, and now you’re finding out how much your students have understood. You’ve been energetic, enthusiastic, inspired and you don’t honestly feel you could offer much more.

Most teachers go into the profession to do this. They’re not going to be millionaires, although they might well enjoy their holidays. But they do want their students to achieve that ‘Eureka’ moment where they understand something new or have learned a new skill. Which is more important: the subject or the student ( an interminable debate among teachers )? The short answer is of course both. And where can teachers best do this? There is no short answer. Education is now so vast and varied that it would be impossible to come with a simple answer. “We” teach all ages, all over the world, in schools, colleges, in universities and online. There are of course constraints everywhere on the national curriculum; Ofsted, moderators, I and E verifiers and exam boards, etc. But none of these will stop a good teacher teaching with flair, conviction and resilience.

So where will you see the most imaginative teaching? The answer is in all sorts of places, often in normal schools. Sometimes it can be where there is special work happening ( Guardian, 25/9/14:  on the Ian Mikardo school). Other places where experiments have become successes include online work such as OOL, OU, MOOCS), often in informal settings – clubs, societies, among groups of friends and enthusiasts.

Is there a teacher to suit all students? A hard one, this. You would normally say yes, but of course it doesn’t always work out. What is true in anyone’s lifetime is that there is some sort of education for them.
What would I like to see taught more than they perhaps are already ( on top of everything else, of course )? Politics, peace studies, philosophy, ecology and self sufficiency, astronomy and a few more. What would you like to see?

Finally: what do teachers want to see most? All students enjoying learning.

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My last job was as a tutor for OOL. I taught on courses providing professional training for school support staff, as well as A level English Literature and English Literature GCSE. Prior to that, I worked in schools, colleges, adult education and the Arts, including a period as a local authority inspector. I'm going to make myself busy trying to keep you up to date with different aspects of education news – and also to keep you interested.

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