Solution to headache is to ‘grow your own’!

Education news
Education news

by Tim Carroll, Vandyke Upper School headteacher and chairman of the Leighton Buzzard Headteachers’ Group

It is just about the most exciting thing. That is saying something because life is full of excitement.

I can think of several really exciting things that happened today alone: a spectacular sun-rise of pinks and orange as I drove along this morning; an assembly where five students stood up and addressed 250 of their peers – that takes courage; and my maths lesson after break-time when we first encountered fractional indices – I was not the only person in the room who was excited.

But the most exciting thing is to appoint a former student as a member of staff. We have five ex-students here in different roles from teacher to teaching assistant and ICT technician. I think this is great. I met a headteacher just recently who estimates that one third of his teachers are former students – a remarkable statistic. This was a long-term strategy to build the school. He believes they are among his best staff, they understand the students, are loyal and committed and provide inspiring role models.

Recruiting teachers of Maths (and Science and now English and other subjects) is a well known headache for schools. Smart schools are increasingly “growing their own” and this includes encouraging our own students to train to become teachers and to come back to join their former school. This long term strategy has already borne fruit and for individual schools may prove to be a long term solution to this crisis.

Forget the bad publicity and apocryphal tales of classroom chaos. Schools are great places to work. Teaching is a brilliant job. For somebody with the right disposition and skills, teaching can provide a rewarding, well rewarded and flexible career full of opportunity. Surrounding yourself with lively, enthusiastic and funny young people is a sure way to stay on top of your game. You will be challenged every day in many different ways. Rise to those challenges and you have the most fulfilling job anybody could wish for.

What better message for our current students than “enjoy learning with us and then come back and enjoy teaching with us”!