Jostling with job dissatisfaction…

Posted: November 3, 2012 in Decisions - job satisfaction, Teaching and Education, Uncategorized
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So I’ve embarked on this blog 51 (now) days before I embark on my adventures so I can recall and share with suitable truth the realities of my existence here in Devon.  Both my work as a secondary school teacher and my social life in my much-loved ‘dirty old town’ of Dartmouth have both engaged and inspired me on numerous, often extended, occasions.  But there are two gripes I have at the moment, and both (quite usefully I suppose, given my imminent departure) are steadily blossoming at present: namely, my work as a secondary school teacher and my social life in my much-loved ‘dirty old town’ of Dartmouth.  You’ll see my predicament.

Despite last night’s brief delve into the dark underbelly of Dartmouth’s pubs offering ample fodder for the social life gripe, this afternoon’s reading material has brought my concerns about teaching to the fore.  For the first time in my six year teaching career, I haven’t enjoyed my job very much since returning this September.  I have been variously attributing this to an internal acknowledgement that I’m about to go on sabbatical and so am not as engaged, having a particularly difficult collection of lower set classes and, at times, to the dwindling staff morale evidenced all around me.

I have just this moment finished reading Ken Robinson’s ‘The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything’, a book in which ‘world renowned creativity expert’ (Amazon) details, amongst an array of successful stories of individual’s finding their true passion, how the current education system – worldwide – is a decaying relic of industrialism, set up and suited to a now outdated model.  Moreover, much of the assessment and, in some cases, pedagogy evident in schools today stamps out, rather than fuels, creativity.  Sadly, I couldn’t agree more and despite the admirable efforts of our Head teacher to foster creative and student-centred pedagogy and a host of superb colleagues working just about as hard as I think is possible, I am left feeling deeply inadequate each time a brow-beaten bunch of teenagers traipse out of my classroom – not desperately unhappy or demotivated (I hope!) but certainly not inspired or fired up by the creativity and excitement of my lesson.

As I am reading Robinson’s book, which finishes with a section (a little too short of suggestions and advice for my lagging professional pride at this point) about education and how it needs to better foster creativity and avoid the pigeon-holing of subjects and devaluing of the creative subjects, I am simultaneously scanning my mind for how on earth to make Monday’s lessons more creative; how to somehow inspire that handful of students in each class that loathes the quiet reading time at the start of each lesson; how to make ‘learning […]more experiential and contextual’ (Robinson) when I have six lessons until my bottom set Y10s will enter the school hall and for two hours (they manage 40 minutes tops) write a review of a TV programme which will be judged on a very specific set of written word criteria.

And on that note, that’ll be my plea for the day…any suggestions?  Or any further thoughts on either Robinson’s work or suggestions of other authors to read? Right, now I’m going to read something lighter…and have a beer.


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