Teachers need to be supported, not hassled - ‘those on the front line have enough on their plate’

PUBLISHED: 15:32 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 16 February 2017

"Ive always admired teachers  remembering how difficult some of my school classes were, their patience, commitment and dedication is miraculous" says Lauren Cope. Picture: Thinkstock


We all know there are certain jobs that are more of a calling than a nine-to-five. Alongside doctors and nurses – and I would argue journalists – teaching certainly makes the list.

Shaping the children’s futures and, quite literally, changing lives is tricky to top when it comes to reasons for picking a career.

I’ve always admired teachers – remembering how difficult some of my school classes were, their patience, commitment and dedication is miraculous.

This week, I wrote a story of how a growing number of teachers are suffering stress and living with anxiety – and received an outpouring of response from under-pressure teachers.

For many, lunch breaks are filled with marking, hours after-school spent with children who need it most and early starts to get prepared for the day ahead.

And with the constant pressure for positive Ofsted results, a good spot in the exam league tables and restricted freedom and cashflow to make their own choices, they bear a lot on their shoulders.

It is accountability, unions said, that often leaves teachers at their wits end – shouldering the full responsibility for a pupil’s exam results and, at least, short-term future is hard to shake off.

Then multiply that by 30.

It is perhaps worth pausing here.

There are, of course, plenty of teachers who adore what they do and love going to work every day.

Even the ones who are weighed down are driven by a desire to do right by their pupils.

I’ve been told countless times by teachers, heads and support staff that teaching is the best job there is.

But – remembering the teasing of supply teachers, books thrown out of windows and answering back – things were challenging enough 15 years ago.

Fast forward to 2017.

Budgets are tighter, freedom is lessening and exam pressure is mounting.

Nationally, we read about struggles with parents – equally determined to see children doing well but only seeing half the picture.

One school in Glasgow this week decided to ban teachers from visiting parents at the school gates to avoid confrontation.

Those on the front line have enough on their plate – and, more than ever, need support.

Everyone wants the same thing – to get the best results for pupils.

Let’s give teachers the support to do that.

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