Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Stay or Go, Your Face Will Never Be Forgotten

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Stay or Go, Your Face Will Never Be Forgotten

Article excerpt

What does a teacher look like? When we asked children around the country to draw portraits, some of the results were as you would expect - and some most definitely were not (see pages 28-32).

The pictures were mostly of women, which chimes with official statistics, although a number of the children drew men despite the lack of male staff at their schools.

Overall, the artists' logic was impeccable but hairstyles were trickier. Eleven-year-old James couldn't decide what colour hair to give his teacher so got round the problem by giving him none at all. Nine-year-old Ewan drew a woman with long brown locks carrying a box with a book on top because, well, sometimes teachers carry boxes into class.

Interestingly, only 40 per cent put a smile on their subject's face, showing astute powers of observation. Teachers are not happy at the moment. According to the latest Department for Education figures, one in 12 is leaving the profession every year (see pages 6-7). Student and newly qualified teachers also feel jaded, with an ATL union survey reporting that some 73 per cent have already considered leaving (bit.ly/TeachersQuit).

Their reasons include excessive workload, the merry-go-round of change and the pressures of inspection. Teachers want to teach but unnecessary tasks are getting in the way.

One man's reason for throwing in the towel will chime with many: it felt, he said, as though "the whole purpose had become about serving the people above you rather than serving the kids". Teachers, he pointed out, do not mind working hard if it is going to "make a difference to kids' lives". …

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