Oh dear, I must admit I feel rather silly this morning after realising I’ve been doing it all wrong for years now! I’ve been trying to plan engaging lessons which will focus the pupils on learning, using non-verbal strategies to challenge bad behaviour in a timely fashion, praising positive behaviour and using my school’s behaviour management system to sanction pupils who go beyond the boundaries. How foolish of me! Well, from here on in it will be straight out to weed the garden, pick up rubbish or indeed I will stick them up the chimney with a sweep to get to the hard to reach areas!
What utter nonsense emanating from the DfE this morning. Maybe I have a class that differs somewhat from the norm, but tidying my classroom seems to be more of an incentive than a punishment. Kids quarrel over who can keep the library tidy, clean the tables and organise the surroundings. Perhaps that is because they take pride in their work and their environment. They don’t settle for second best. I help to embed in the kids a set of values that will assist them in later life. Are all of the kids eager to clean up? Of course not. Do teachers already have enough strategies to tackle challenging behaviour? Of course we do. Yes, primary will differ somewhat from secondary, but a good school will have a clear policy that teachers know and works effectively. When even the Daily Mail sees it as a gimmick, you know it’s absolute blather.
Mr Gove takes us all for fools. He thinks that if he throws enough nonsense into the press (in this case about behaviour) or slips policy through when other major headlines are in the news, then we will fail to notice the way he is interfering politically with the education system. The real news here this weekend is about the removal of Baroness Morgan, the head of Ofsted. Despite (at the Education Secretaries’ own admission) giving ‘distinguished service’ and doing a ‘really good job’, Baroness Morgan has been relieved of her duties after one term in office in order for the government to bring a ‘fresh perspective’ (though I think that is read as ‘Tory appointment’). Baroness Morgan has claimed to be the victim of a determined effort from Number 10 to appoint more Tories, and you might be hard pressed to disagree. Indeed, Lib Dem minister David Laws was said to be so furious that he told a friend of his displeasure. Well you showed Gove, and indeed us, Mr Laws that the Lib Dems are no pushovers! Whatever next; maybe you’ll actually tutt about policy in public or shake your head in disagreement? Great leadership.
Don’t be fooled folks, this morning’s headlines have nothing to do with behaviour. It is merely an attention diverting exercise by Mr Gove, as Andrew Marr sits across from him ‘gooey eyed’ and not asking any probing questions. But hey, what do I know? I’m only a teacher. Now I’m off to put my blackboards back up in the classroom so that I can get the naughty kid to bang the dusters together at break time.