I have been teaching for about 12 years. I happen to be pretty good at my job. I know this because on any realistic measure (both official and anecdotal) the data seem to point that way. I enjoy teaching. I enjoy planning challenging lessons and supporting the development of young people. I have been a leader of departments, and I have taught and been a visiting tutor on teacher training courses. I am a team leader for an exam board.
I can point, every day, to examples where my leadership has changed my students' lives for the better and supported my colleagues. It seems that Michael Gove cannot do the same: a failed and ill-planned attempt to replace GCSE courses, the debacle over exam results last year, allegations of bullying within his own department and votes of no confidence from the very people he is meant to be leading.
I would suggest that we both have high standards and want to see them maintained. However, whereas my team and the people I lead have some faith that I might have the skills for the job, I have absolutely no faith in Mr Gove's leadership. Can he imagine how it feels to be led by someone whose actions and words suggest no professional trust, no confidence and no belief that we're fundamentally on the same side? He has made a hard-working and committed teacher very sad.
Mark Grady, English and drama teacher.