Friday, May 11, 2007

Teaching Instructors

I've been trying to find out the extent of this for a while.

Basically people are taken on by schools as 'Teaching Instructors'. They cover lessons but have the work set for them and do not mark it. They must have a degree but do not need any other qualification.

Here is an article about it (with some interesting comments at the end)

I finally met someone who was working as a 'Teaching Instructor' recently. He had graduated the previous year and was doing it as short term employment whilst he 'worked out what he wanted to do with his life'.

He said that the work was always set for him and he hadn't been asked to mark anything. He told me that the SMT bloke hiring him explained that he was basically a 'Supply Teacher but Cheaper'

He started off covering the subject he had a degree in but after a week, the school offered him work doing general cover. He was paid £95 per day and had been working for three months. He told me that "It's been interesting but there's no way I'd go into teaching". He was incidently, very impressed by the 'real teachers' he had met. (Except for me, I suspect)

It does raise a few interesting points:

1) How widespread is this practice? I think there are probably thousands of them, but I cannot say for certain.

2) Presumably the parents have no idea what is going on.

3) How different is this situation from having Supply Teachers? I regularly covered subjects that I knew nothing about for weeks on end.

4) How on Earth did this get to happen without the Unions doing anything effective to stop it?

5) Would you be happy going to see your doctor and hearing "Dr. Jones is away today but I'm a 'Medical Instructor'. What seems to be the problem?"

21 comments:

jerym said...

"How on Earth did this get to happen without the Unions doing anything effective to stop it?" -----This,not being a teacher myself, never fails to amaze me, why are your unions so gutless and the members seem to do nothing about it.After all you are all educated people and not silent in your dissatisfaction with the situation when it comes to bloging on the internet.

buster said...

Unions are only as strong as the members. Teachers are basically gutless and unwilling to cause a fuss so the unions have no power at all. To be fair though, the union members like to talk and complain.

purplejunky said...

It comes to a point when we moan so much that people get used to us moaning and we are ignored. Teaching should have the same status as any other public service job.
As long as we are there to teach kids the manners their parents didn't teach them and teach them what they need to know (for the 40% of the time we are not managing behaviour) then people don't give a s**t!
(I'm still on my PGCE year and I can see clear as day that I will never get any thanks for the career that I am about embark on.

purplejunky said...

close bracket!

Blunt said...

Is this any different than the use of cover supervisors? They don't even need a degree.

Anonymous said...

I saw an advert yesterday in my local paper for 'trainee teachers'. Must have a degree and minimum of grade C in English and Maths at GCSE. The appointees will receive 'on the job training'.
This seems to be a variation on the theme. Jo

jerym said...

To repeat my original question------- "why are your unions so gutless and the members seem to do nothing about it" ----------------- only"buster"gets anywhere near to having a go at the problem.

Anonymous said...

in reply to jerym and buster ....

Unfortunately teachers are in a no win situation - take action and there is a public outcry because the 'bloody teachers get enough holidays and should quit complaining!' ... do nothing, and they are a bunch of "gutless" moaners!

Teaching has become the scapegoat for all of society's ills. Forget blaming the schools for lack of discipline in society and mass teenage pregnancy rates and teenage drinking, drugs and violence ... look a little closer to home and blame the PARENTS who can't teach their own kids manners, respect and discipline before they step foot inside a school, and allow the teachers to teach!

Anonymous said...

Purplejunky .. you are entering one of the best professions in the world. We don't come into teaching for public recognition, or crap pay or holidays spent recovering from the stress of large classes with large numbers of kids with emotional and behavioural problems - I love my job because the difference you can make, however small, is helping to change and shape someones life. You'll love it!!!

soppy post over!

Deborah said...

I teach in Canada, but I went over to Britain to teach.

It is of utter no surprise to me that you can't keep teachers. I was sworn at every day. I was spit on. I was injured with a black bruise that took 6-8 weeks to heal when I went to stop two student fighting.

I worked about 12 hour days and I practically never got to marking. When I went over I had decided that I would work very hard during the week, but my weekends were mine.

The teaching resources were dismal and school organization created monstrous unnecessary extra workload.

The workload simply was unmanageable. I figure the "deal" you give to your beginning teachers which reduces their workload by about 10% is more like a maximum manageable teaching load for an experienced teacher.

I was talking to teachers in your school system that were working 60-70 hour workweeks and they had been teaching over 20 years. Anyone that sticks to those kind of working conditions should be worshiped.

And the kids were amazing. They expected you to quit, and it was a game with them, make life difficult for the new teachers. Truant students would come into my classroom, run around, throw things around, throw school property, like their school books, out the window, sing, throw chairs across the room, crawl through windows, crawl under desks, throw everything off the teacher's desk on to the floor. I lasted 4 months.

I talked to new teachers who said their education was free and after my experience there it is of utter no surprise to me that you still can not keep enough teachers even though you allow them to train for free.

Funding is the root of your problem. I was working 60 hour work weeks and I was only getting about 2/3rds-3/4ths of the job done. The expectations are insane.

I needed fewer classes, no sharing of classes, access to a teaching resource center that let me photocopy when I needed it, my students to have their own text books and responsibility for them.

jerym said...

Anonymous--I think you are underestimating the sympathy and support that you would get from the responsible majority of parents in our country. The arseholes who ca`nt or wont control their kids will always blame someone else.Its not teachers that have become the scapegoat but the lousy system that refuses to stand up to the minority of children and parents causing most of the trouble.Stick together and refuse to teach them and show the PC idiots in charge that you mean it.

buster said...

In a pre teaching life I was a shop steward in the EETPU. A dispute once arose at my place of work over the holiday entitlement of one colleague, discussion with the senior managers broke down and we went on strike. All ten in our local unit went to work on the Monday morning handed in the keys for our company cars and went back home. On Tuesday the senor managers were talking to us and we resolved the dispute. We all lost two days wages.
Nowadays, I am a school rep for a teaching union. Colleagues come to me occasionally with legitimate complaints about the managers expectations of them and moan, moan and moan some more. I set up a meeting to discuss the issues and then the colleague gets cold feet because "I don't want to make a fuss", "It might affect my career" or my favourite "My husband says that it isn't a good idea to make waves".
Teaching is as it is because teachers are spineless. Quite frankly the majority of teachers deserve no better than they get.

jerym said...

There you have it,straight from the horses mouth.Just one last observation from someone who is`nt a teacher, if you do ever take action dont let the dispute centre on money otherwise you will lose a lot of the support from the general public and simply appear to be greedy buggers working from nine to four with ridiculously long holidays and a fat pension at the end of it.I know its not true but people are easily pursuaded of this when they are stuck with their kids all day.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love my job. Just back from a weekend of DofE training with some wonderful young people.

I can't believe some of the comments both here and in the original article. In my experience the job can be extremely tough both physically and emotionally. By the end of a half term I am drained and running on empty. But... I wouldn't swap it for anything. Yes it can be stressful, yes behaviour can be challenging, yes paperwork and bureaucracy can be dispiritng.

HOWEVER - the feelings of joy, satisfaction and having maybe (just maybe) made a tiny little bit of a difference more than make up for it all.

I've put my time in at a variety of schools including some of the toughest in the country and some of the best. They have all had more than their fair share of cynical left-wing over-liberal, "only waiting for my pension" types who do nothing but damage morale in the staffroom and the education of those who matter with their loopy ideas on discipline and loony ideals. These people do far far more damage to our education system, schools and young people than any teaching assistant or non-qualified that I have ever worked with.

Teaching unions are a joke and probably best ignored. They have protected the incompetent, lazy and ignorant for years and have contributed greatly to the position the profession now finds itself in.

buster said...

Anonymous said...
I absolutely love my job. Just back from a weekend of DofE training with some wonderful young people.
HOWEVER - the feelings of joy, satisfaction and having maybe (just maybe) made a tiny little bit of a difference more than make up for it all.
... with their loopy ideas on discipline and loony ideals. Teaching unions are a joke and probably best ignored.
10:07

There you go. Loopy ideas and loony ideals.
Young and idealistic are we? Running on empty by half term? Wait until you have a few years service and you'll find that even the Summer break isn't enough for recharging.
I have two colleagues ill with stress and depression at the moment. As I said earlier, unions are only as strong as their members. With folks like anon in the job there is no hope for improvement.
Yours, with age related cynicism......

DorsetDipper said...

is this what you're on about? (its about changes at Harlow College if the link doesn't work)

http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2546

Anonymous said...

My experience is that in teaching there are too many empire builders. People who will put up with anything to get on the good side of the SMT and the Head for promotion and gain. Teachers generally don't support each other. alot of my colleagues seem to be playing a game verbalising about things that just don't match their character. At first I wondered if I had misjudged them now I know they are empire building/playing the game. I also feel that those who do voice concerns and challenge decisions like these are seen as negative or disaffected. They rarely get promoted.

purplejunky said...

Thanks for the soppy post anonymous the second!
:-)

lilyofthefield said...

We call these "cover supervisors" and the subject of their role and status is a source of endless vitriol on the TES Staffroom forums. They were originally supposed to cover the first three days of unplanned absence, after which (or when the absence was known in advance)a qualified supply teacher is supposed to be employed.

Speaking as a ex-supply teacher myself, I can't see what the problem is under those circumstances. I don't set or mark work, write reports or attend parents' evenings on casual supply but I walk out at the end of a day when I have put up with just as much shit as a cover supervisor and don't even know the kids or necessarily the subject, with £150. The CSs at our place are on £14K pro rata.

I do not think that long term absences should covered even by supply if a temporary teacher can be given a temporary contract. At least you get some measure of proper teacherhood. But I don't think a long term absence should EVER be covered by a person who requires not even a CSE Grade 4 in Woodwork to get the job.

french mistress said...

How come the article says teaching intructors get £100 a day and supply teachers get £140? I am a supply teacher at the moment and I only get £100 a day through the agency and £117 a day through the LEA. Do teaching instructors really earn as much as me when I have a PGCE and 2 years' teaching experience under my belt?

Not that I'm complaining... I love doing supply. I love teaching in fact, for all the work and the hassle, it is very rewarding and I love the feeling I get when a kid says "thanks for teaching me Miss. I'm going to do French A Level because you made me love French." It doesnt get much better than that, does it?

Inspector Gadget said...

Ah, at last you can see what we have in the Police with the PCSO's. And by the way, Mrs Gadget is a supply teacher and she doesn't have an agency; the schools call her in by phone and she gets all the cash herself, and it's way more than £140 too. Are we living in the last county to do it this way? If so, shhhhhhhh.