Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Teachers Blaming Other Teachers

Phil Beadle writes a very interesting blog post in today's Guardian newspaper. He wants to know who's to blame for the failure of his year 11's in their punctuation and writing. He admits that it's easy to blame last year's teacher.

"My year 11s can't tell a comma from a colon. They write in three different tenses in the space of a single sentence and think that a preposition is something to do with asking someone out. Of course, it's all their last teacher's fault. I blame him," Phil writes.

He goes on to explain that actually, their teacher from last year is a great teacher. So it must be the teacher from the year before that. And so it goes...

What I like about Phil's style is that he writes as if he's speaking with the reader. I can hear his voice as I read the article. And I completely agree - it's far too simple to blame other teachers.

One of the issues that foreign teachers face when teaching abroad is that they tend to want to blame & criticize the education system in their new country. They compare it to "home". The more experience they gain, the more they realize that the comparison just does not work.

Most of my teachers say they really struggle for their first 6 months, but once they get a handle on teaching in London, England they find it gradually gets easier. They all admit that behaviour management is way harder than they initially thought.

Some even admit they didn't believe other teachers when they said it would be tough. They thought, "Well, my behaviour management skills are great! It must just be that other teacher's fault,". Only to admit later that hey, this stuff is harder than it looks!

There's something rather humbling about teaching in inner city schools in London.

The point? Rather than blame other teachers, let's learn from each other and work together. Just like we teach the children right?

The great news? Our teachers live together & share their experiences at the end of the day so they are constantly learning from each other. It really helps to know that you're not alone & the challenges you go through are common and perfectly normal. It doesn't matter if you're a fresh graduate from teacher's college or if you have 10 years experience. We all have to adapt to teaching in London. After six months, you'll feel like a pro!

Want to learn more? Buy the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. Buy it, read it and if you're not convinced that it's worth every penny, email me and I'll give you your money back.

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