Thoughts on Tough Young Teachers

‘There is nothing more romantic than marking’ (Meryl)

The great thing about this series is that it has highlighted what teachers actually do and what they actually feel, on a daily basis. We can see our own challenges and successes in the actions of the six portrayed. This must have made more people want to be a teacher and it has reminded those that are why they would not do anything else.

This final episode showed how the best teachers really do go the extra mile for their students, if not quite the full 200 that Meryl drove to watch the British gymnast champion that she mentors. The home-made revision guides, numerous revision sessions, it was all there.

The series has reinforced key advice to teachers concerning successful teaching and this episode was no exception. Claudenia’s year 10 class remind us that students need to feel like they are making progress, they might not know how this feeling has arisen, but they need to feel it. Nic’s students remind us that they find change difficult and that it is just as hard for the students settling in with a new teacher as it is for the teacher with the new students.

It also reminded us what we have ourselves witnessed many times: work experience can bring out the best in students, students can go from leading learning to having tantrums on the floor within 20 minutes, marking is more fun when it is does together and telling students that you’re leaving is never easy.

There was some laugh out loud comedy moments. Oliver asking ‘Shall we high 5’ only to be told ‘no, let’s shake hands’ is a scene akin to that which you would expect on the Apprentice and you could easily have imagined such an occurrence between Claud and Stuart Baggs ‘the Brand’.  Oliver’s request emanated from his joy at fulfilling his desire to being graded outstanding, a feeling that of course resonates with all of us all of the time.

Even the tiny moments from this episode resonated, many of us have run in the staff race at sports day even if we haven’t all been to 10 Downing Street. Which one of us couldn’t have laughed when one of Chloe’s students asked if they could watch a movie as it was their final lesson, even though it was the final lesson before their GCSEs!

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