There’s a very interesting story in today’s Irish Times, @IrishTimes , by Joe Humphreys about the response from teachers to a proposal by the Teaching Council, the regulatory body for the profession, that teachers would be obliged to continually add to their skills to remain part of the profession.
Teachers don’t want to learn
It appears that “many teachers” are “opposed to the notion” of continuing professional development (CPD) being mandatory. The Teaching Council had proposed that teachers earn credits over their career through training, with evidence of such progress sought at regular intervals in order for them to remain on the teaching register.
Why a culture of resistance?
Isn’t that response by the teachers strange we thought? What is it about State employment that frequently makes people resistant, not just to change, but to personal self-development? Here is the State offering teachers the opportunity, presumably free, gratis and for nothing, to hone their skills in and around their chosen profession – and here are the teachers saying ‘no’. (Maybe like some of their pupils they feel they already know everything?)
Make CPD mandatory in the State sector
Shouldn’t CPD be mandatory across the public sector as it is for many professions? Doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers – wouldn’t and shouldn’t hold on to their jobs if they failed to continue to learn – keeping themselves relevant in a changing world. Here at ISME we regularly run CPD validated courses across many sectors – courses that are extremely well attended despite members having to pay for them themselves. They are obviously valued.
The reality of our education system
Teachers are an essential cog within the wider economy. It appears that we may soon lose our tax advantages in attracting foreign investment to Ireland. If the publicity can be believed, two other elements are deemed to be valuable by these multinationals – one that we are English speaking and secondly that we have a flexible and well-educated workforce. In reality, beyond English, our language skills are appalling and we are not making sufficient progress in climbing the international league tables in important areas such as maths and IT skills.
Saying ‘no to know’
It is vital that the quality and quantity of education is improved. We know that it’s almost impossible to fire poor teachers (yes, there are such individuals). There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that the State will ever change that. So, in its absence now is the time for the State to insist that CPD is compulsory within the State sector and that for all our futures, including the future of the teachers’ own children, that the Government says ‘yes you will’ to those teachers who are saying ‘no to know’.