Teaching campaign needs a revamp

4th February 2005 at 00:00
New teachers have joined education professionals criticising the teacher recruitment adverts that claim that working in the classroom is "better than anti-aging cream" for keeping people young.

Many new teachers feel that the claims, made as part of the Teacher Training Agency's new advertising campaign, fail to capture the realities of life as an NQT.

Adam Proctor, 24, a history NQT currently working on supply, said: "These adverts are all 'isn't teaching marvellous?' Where are the awful kids who shout and swear at you? I find them a bit sickening. Whenever they come on I switch off.

"I don't feel younger since I've started teaching. I'm young as it is. If I felt any younger, I'd be one of the pupils."

Martin Holroyd, 33, a maths NQT from West Yorkshire, said: "Teaching makes you age prematurely. It makes you feel old. The adverts just don't show the reality, the constant confrontations, arguments and negative relationships."

The new series of adverts show children at two secondary schools joking with their teacher, followed by slogans such as "work with the most exciting people in the country" and "work with the finest raw materials in the world".

But teachers have been particularly angered by a television advert which shows smiling pupils, accompanied by the slogan: "They're better than any anti-aging cream". The Advertising Standards Authority reported receiving 15 complaints from teachers who protested that the stress of the job could add years to their appearance. It rejected the complaint stating: "We think that most people would recognise that teaching is a demanding vocation. We don't require advertisers to list all the downsides of a job."

James Brown, 23, an English NQT at Elizabethan high in Nottinghamshire, said adverts should give a balanced view of the job otherwise new teachers will have unrealistic expectations. "As an NQT, you seem to be jumping through hoops a lot of the time. Some children revel in their lack of motivation, but others are a real pleasure to teach. You need to know you'll be dealing with all sorts of children in one classroom, and that it's a real challenge to get used to," he said.

Philip May, head of Costessey high in Norfolk, agrees: "Sometimes teaching is a difficult job. But you don't sell it as anything less than it is. When you're a new teacher, you want to know what you're getting. You need to be realistic. It's a potential career, so you have to want to do it warts and all."

The TTA have defended the adverts. "Adverts are meant to be motivational.

They have been created to stimulate interest in the profession," a spokeswoman said.

"Research among teachers confirmed that the principal reason they teach is the enjoyment of working with children, and we thought that should be theme of our campaign."

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