How to win the propaganda war in education.
The public are up in arms about the government's privatisation agenda for the NHS. A similarly underhand privatisation is going on in the education sector and the public largely don't give a flying fuck. What are the NHS workers and their unions doing that we are failing to do?
Not being teachers who only work 9am-3pm for 39 weeks a year. That's how we are perceived. Don't forget everyone loves the NHS - it is a sacred cow.
It actually really guts me just how badly we are thought of. Who do they think educated all those doctors, midwives and nurses?
Doctors and nurses have the very simple aim of making one better through scientific knowledge. Education is a political arena - teachers don't agree about grammar schools, for example, or the importance of the national curriculum.
I think it is a question of image and marketing. There is no efficient and authoritative voice for the teaching profession in the same way that medics have effective representation. An ill-dressed, earring-wearing union representative will never be taken seriously by the wider population. Teaching needs an independent body, created from within the profession, to represent it. Such a body needs to rise above party politics, too.
Maybe we should call it the GTC(E)?
The GTCE mainly concerned itself with stigmatising teachers who failed to live up to their expectations - such as those who were prosecuted for drink-driving in the middle of the holidays. These people wanted to monitor all aspects of our private lives and conduct, even when doing nothing illegal. Like many teachers, I cheered when they were given their P45s.
Join the debate at www.tes.co.ukforums.