What keeps me awake at night

11th April 2014 at 01:00
Sinking under a boss who's too young to lead

As a young teacher, you'd think I would welcome the early promotion of teachers into positions of responsibility. But I don't. This is mainly because I know how much better teachers get with experience and that I would make a better leader five years from now than I would in two. I also know that the leaders I have found to be the best at their jobs are those who did a decent stint in the classroom first.

I have come to these conclusions after four years of teaching and no appointment has provided greater evidence of their merit than the recent promotion of one of the teaching staff at our primary school to deputy headteacher.

This teacher is in his mid-thirties. Let's call him Toby. Toby had a job in marketing before switching careers and came here 12 months ago after a year as a newly qualified teacher at another local school.

He was supremely arrogant from the start. He believed that his time in business made him a better teacher and constantly informed us of this fact - imploring us all to go and spend some time in industry to "see what it is really like out there". As you can imagine, he did not win many friends. But we had to admit that Toby was a pretty good teacher for someone at that point in their career and had decent classroom management skills.

But deputy headteacher? We were incredulous. First, that someone with so little teaching experience would be telling us what we could and could not do in the classroom. And second, because this job should go to someone whom the staff respect, and we had made it clear that we did not respect him one bit.

He has been in the role for less than a term and already all our fears have been proved true. He daily demonstrates his lack of understanding for the demands of the classroom, has many times shown his dearth of curriculum knowledge and has made the school a much more hostile place to be. This type of promotion is not rare and neither is the negative fallout. So why do school leaders keep promoting inexperienced teachers up the ladder?

The writer is a teacher in Wales

Tell us what keeps you awake at night

Email jon.severs@tes.co.uk


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