Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - the Judgement and Prejudice of Teachers: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - the Judgement and Prejudice of Teachers: Opinion

Article excerpt

Ask any teacher what their training was like and their response will be peppered with words such as "tiring", "stressful" and maybe, if you (and they) are lucky, "exhilarating".

Unfortunately for me, the low points of teacher training greatly outnumbered the highs. After a first placement where the teachers who should have been observing and assisting me took the opportunity to get on with admin in the staffroom, I had higher hopes for my second placement after spending a day there before I started and finding it a welcome contrast.

However, a few days before I was due to begin at the school, I was shocked to be told by my tutor that the mentor at the second placement had lodged a complaint against me after less than a day in my company. He didn't think that I was "suited" to the school.

Remarks I had made with genuine enthusiasm had been interpreted as arrogant and dismissive; my excitement to teach challenging students had been interpreted as judgemental.

When asked by this mentor about my educational background, I had replied honestly that I had gone to a private girls' school and then attended the University of Oxford. In his letter to my tutor, the mentor wrote that my background wouldn't equip me to teach students on free school meals. …

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