'Am I mad? No, I'm a CT'

16th December 2005 at 00:00
Ssch . . . don't mention it. Some teachers - keep your voice down - do not like to admit they are on . . . the chartered teacher programme. Oops, it's out.

In some schools, working towards becoming a CT is almost a clandestine activity. Participants are reluctant to confess to colleagues that they have taken up the burden of out of hours study.

Research into CT students at Strathclyde and Glasgow universities reveals a mixed response from the staffroom, ranging from "respect to incredulity".

One teacher put it rather harshly: "A few show genuine interest, a few show a vague interest in passing, many ignore it and some mock it."

Other responses include "a waste of money" and "they think I'm mad".

One student said: "Most are supportive but some are against the programme.

I don't tend to talk about it much except to people who are on the programme."

But researchers Margery McMahon of Glasgow University and Graham Connelly of Strathclyde University say that hostility may subside as the programme develops, although many experienced teachers still have to justify to others their decision to study.

One teacher said: "Older colleagues and those with children at home usually express admiration (probably tinged with respect) that I am dedicated to commit the amount of time required. Very few mention money, it is mainly workload and time. Some younger teachers are interested, thinking ahead to their options when they reach the top of the scale."

The study of 39 CTs-to-be - 80 per cent of whom are women - also reveals that some heads and deputes are slow to capitalise on the new-found knowledge, confidence and enthusiasm of the group. One commented: "In the wider sense, the school is not benefiting at all. My studies for CT and the skillsknowledge I have gained are not being acknowledged in any way, although I am more than willing to share these."

A number of teachers cite direct benefits (such as a problem-solving booklet) and indirect benefits (such as better information on issues affecting schools). But others say the workload means less time for class preparation.

Most participants like engaging with new ideas that can make an impact in the classroom and say their confidence has grown. The researchers state:

"In some ways, the latter may seem surprising for teachers who have many years' experience in the profession."

One teacher summed up: "I am now more outspoken and recently commented on a poster which I felt did not comply with the policy of inclusion. I have become more confident in my teaching abilities and have identified areas for improvement."

The researchers believe the CT programme is making an impact on experienced teachers who see their job as role model or mentor for colleagues. They are definitely not managers, the teachers insist.

As one said: "I do not see it as a managerial position to be used at the whim of schooleducation authority to replace management tiers lost due to changes."

Only chartered teachers need apply: perceptions of teachers enrolled on chartered teacher programmes. By Margery McMahon and Graham Connelly.

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