Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Blurred Vision

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Blurred Vision

Article excerpt

"I'm having problems with my vision," our trainee told me. He's a Teach First student and often drops into my classroom for a chat.

"I have this educational vision for my class and things keep getting in the way of achieving it," he expanded. "What do you think I should do?" I stared at him blankly. Clearly suggesting a trip to Specsavers wasn't going to cut much ice.

To be honest, I thought it was a fairly impressive problem for one so new to the profession. Back when I completed my PGCE, educational visions were definitely an optional extra. My sole ambition was to make the pupils behave. If I had a vision, it was of me in a beer garden at the end of July minus a P45.

Clearly teacher training has moved on. I imagine you can't even join Teach First unless you quote Gandhi and sing Greatest Love of All at the interview. I have no idea what the organisation's motto is but I expect it's something like "Every trainee a visionary" (unless it's "Teach First: get a proper job second").

"So what's your vision?" I asked.

"It's to instil a lifelong love of learning in every child in my class," he told me earnestly. I hesitated. On the one hand, I had to admire his ambition. On the other, it did sound like he might be aiming a bit too high. (I've taught his class and with some of the children you would struggle to instil a lesson-long love of learning.) Besides, in these times of evidence-above-all-else, how could he ever achieve it? Surely he would be dead before he could tick it off his "requirements met" sheet? …

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