At our Science Educator Residency (10 & 11 July 2017), educators are asked to share a challenge, question or viewpoint from their journey as an educator, and inspire colleagues in our 2-minute lightening talks. Over the next month we will be sharing their talks as part of our #TeacherTalk series. Here Alyssia Fiander shares her talk about the teaching community – and how we can support everyone on their journey.
How do we create a supportive learning environment for teachers within schools?
Teaching is classed as one of the most stressful careers to be in. With over a third of teachers leaving the career after the first 4 years (2010-2014), it is no wonder we are facing a teaching crisis.
OFSTED, data and constant interventions play on all teachers workloads, leaving us very little time to do what we originally signed up to do…teach. So why is it that much of the criticism in schools comes from other teachers?
As quite a young teacher, I believe it is important to welcome everyone into the career of teaching and support each other. As with other careers, bouncing ideas from one to the other creates a richer network and faster problem solving, so why isn’t the time for paired planning embedded into teachers’ timetables?
Science teaching is in fact 3 subjects in one and, hand on heart, I can say I am more passionate about some content than other. By working as a team, I have not only improved my practise, but also engagement within lessons, and hopefully have helped others with the same.
As a PGCE Associate Tutor (AT) I have realised that this problem stems down to the very route into teaching. From day 1 we are told it is competitive and almost ‘dog-eat-dog’ to secure middle leader positions. If we are to solve the severe lack of teachers entering the profession, this concept needs to be altered. Yes, teaching is tough. Yes work can be long, but it is such a satisfying career, keeping you both mentally and physically in shape (bar cake Fridays!).
We need to nurture leadership skills from day 1 of teacher training- helping teachers to triage the pressures we face and create an environment where, if you don’t know something (for me, Flemming’s Left Hand rule is a nightmare!) you are able to talk through with colleagues.
To face the teaching crisis, where (I’m sure teachers will agree) one feels like a desolate island in the middle of the stormy sea of education, we must build bridges between teachers- strengthening our knowledge and sharing workload to allow us to face the challenges sent to us and do what we do best… teach.
Alyssia Fiander is the Lead Practitioner of Science at Beaufort Co-operative Academy in Gloucester. If you’d like to join our Science Educator Network then sign up below!