Teachers matter

21st March 2008 at 00:00
As a 1986 "escapee" now close to completing an excellent Return to Teaching course, I crave your indulgence to reflect on the 21st-century world of education.

I am gobsmacked at the changes since 1986. Teachers seem to be no longer mere teachers, but managers, facilitators, front-line social workers, counsellors, police, surrogate parents, psychologists, mentors and more - as your Big 5 series on Every Child Matters shows. Meanwhile, teaching and learning activities, initiatives, jargon, standards, technologies and new challenges proliferate like daffodils in spring time.

But amid all this impressive culture change, led by enthusiastic "movers and shakers" and do-gooders, I find no initiatives, publications, websites or similar addressing Every Teacher Matters. To my knowledge, no reference is made to the Health and Safety Executive's important "Managing work-related stress in the workplace" initiative. And while workplace stress is increasingly becoming the 21st century's greatest curse, how many key players know about stress assessment and management or are aware of their legal responsibilities and the "duty of care"?

Perhaps, with "neo-professionalism", teachers aren't considered to have "workplaces" or suffer the bullying, victimisation and impossible targets that proliferate in the plebian world?

Keith WD Jago, Brighton.

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