Troops to Teachers

Lee Barbosa's picture
I strongly believe that Ex-Forces personnel could make a huge difference to a lot of schools. The problem is, I joined up at the age of 16, I am now coming to the end of my career at the age of 40. Because of the nature of my job and the fact I thought I joined up for life, I do not have a degree. For me to get a degree I will need to spend 3 years at uni and pay a fortune for the privilege. I am unable to fund that and therefore unable to follow a career I feel would suit my personality and one that is very rewarding. This I am guessing will be the same for many forces personnel due to leave the service after years of mentoring, coaching and guiding the current personnel.
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Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 04/08/2011 - 10:53

Ex-service personnel will do well in the classroom if they satisfy two requirements: sound subject knowledge (degree level is now required) and a knowledge of teaching theory and practice. If ex-service personnel or anyone else wanting to teach does not satisfy these criteria then they should not be allowed to teach. Mr Gove supports the first criteria but downgrades the second by talking about teaching as a 'craft' which is essentially practical and not grounded in theory. He also thinks that trained teacher status is not important enough to insist that all teachers have this training - free schools can employ untrained teachers.

No other profession is so insulted as to say that untrained people can do the job. People quite rightly expect lawyers, doctors, nurses, armed forces personnel and so on to have had adequate training. This standard should equally apply to teaching.

Rosemary Mann's picture
Sat, 06/08/2011 - 08:29

Perhaps this is a bit of a side track, but I've just read some of the comments on the Telegraph blog, especially the bits about what is seen as ' military discipline' and women teachers. Just in case anyone is interested, the reasons women are so predominant in teaching is the comparatively low pay over the years and generally women with family committments have found that it works for them for that reason. Or it once did however the hours of planning and prep needed have increased the workload so much that most of my husbands time in the evenings and weekends is taken up with this and my female friends who have taught for years are exhausted by the increased workload. There may have been recent improvements but there is no way anyone would be attracted by the money. There are a lot of unpaid hours in teaching.

The second thing I pick up from the general discussions is a underlying view that women or at least non military women cannot enforce discipline in a classroom or are automatically viewed as not being able to do so. From my own experience my female teachers were definitely the strongest in that respect. It was definitely a profession for strong women as you would not otherwise survive!

Rosemary Mann's picture
Thu, 11/08/2011 - 21:55

I also wrote a previous post which has not appeared; in it I supported moves to encourage former troops to become teachers but felt that everyone needed to undergo the same thorough training. I don;t see why ex military personnel and police who tend to retire early cant have more financial support for such training courses- it would make a great deal of sense. I am not someone who thinks military work is all about putting the boot in but appreciate that a range of skills are involved and feel that such personnel have a great deal to offer. I think after the events of the last week there will be a hardening of attitudes about pedagogy and a rethink on many fronts on what schools and our society are offering young people. You now have a case of a London teaching assistant being the first one up in court for riotous behaviour. What future for our kids if someone clearly of low morale calibre are in that sort of position of trust.?

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 12/08/2011 - 07:28

The teaching assistant accused of riotous behaviour deserves to lose his job. However, this behaviour does not reflect the huge majority of teachers and their assistants. There has been a rush to "identify" the causes of the behaviour with left-wingers (including Ken Livingstone) blaming the cuts and right-wing commentators blaming the "liberal establishment". Both of these explanations are glib and shame on them both for trying to make political points from an appalling situation.

As far as troops into classrooms are concerned, I think that anyone should be able to enter a teaching career as long as they have the appropriate qualifications: a degree and a sufficient knowledge of how children learn. As I said above, Mr Gove supports the former but seems to think that the latter is not worth studying but can be learnt "on the job". I don't think ex-service personnel would think much of politicians who applied this logic to a military situation: "Don't worry about professional training, pick it up as you go along. Just watch the Sergeant there."

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