Michael Gove urged to try teaching

A petition calling on the Education Secretary to ‘experience exactly what it is to be a teacher’ has attracted over 100,000 signatures.

The petition on the campaigning website 38degrees.org has been signed by more than 101,000 people over the last six months, The Independent reports.

Started by teacher Amy Neill, it calls on Michael Gove to ‘teach a class of primary children for at least half a term in order to appreciate and respect what a challenging job we actually do’.  She stated: “It is absolutely absurd that, in this day and age, the secretary for education, who has the power to make important changes, has no grasp on the education system and what teachers do. Before Mr Gove can make any more ridiculous changes to our pay, pensions and working conditions, he needs to experience exactly what it is to be a teacher.”

Comments from the teachers, journalists and students who signed the petition included:

Sally B: ‘I would like to see Gove teach the other half of the term in a secondary school doing between 50-60 hours a week that I do on an average week…… this includes after schools with students and the odd Saturday morning with them too…. unpaid I might add!’

Sam C: ‘Gove telling teachers how to teach is like a child telling a surgeon how to remove an appendix because they’ve played a game of Operation.’

Ned: ‘… this is a really daft idea which is definitely never going to happen…. He’s not qualified as a teacher, also someone needs to run the department of education. Even him working in a school for one day would just be a crowd-pleaser, seems unlikely to make any difference to policy decisions.’

Do you support the petition and if so why? Share your thoughts with the Eteach community!

16 thoughts on “Michael Gove urged to try teaching

  1. I don’t think this would work because it would be like all the other ‘consultants’ that are hired by heads in failing schools, they come in for 1 isolated lesson, ‘demonstrate’ their ‘skills’, tell you that you are failing as a teacher, take £1000 home for 1 days work and go to sleep without any marking. These consultants do not have to sustain the unrealistic levels of daily planning that go into these one off lessons and there is not guarantee that the pupils have learned anything anyway as test results are not thrown back in their faces.

    Unless Mr. Gove is made to teach for a whole year with financial consequences for his pupils not reaching their targets and not having the security of knowing that this job is not his only source of income, the experiment cannot work. Good luck getting that to go ahead.

  2. I think it’s a good idea. He should teach in a normal comprehensive or primary school for a year not just a token day or two and not for press photos and publicity promotions !

    It’s give him insights into the difficulties and needs of teachers and children rather than his ideological presumptions . if nothing else .

  3. As Mr Grove would be an unqualified teacher, possibly without a crb check, he should try teaching in one of his flagship Acadamies.
    Primary teaching would soon make him realise the amount of work so many teachers do, and do it so well.
    Don’t forget no media, cameras etc. A regular performance management meeting to ensure he meets his targets

  4. Him not being a teacher is exactly what education needs. Likewise, teachers should do his job and see how hard it actually is trying to get the best for our student’s futures but being constantly blocked by the unions. Unlike the proposed teacher MOTs from Labour – his changes will actually create a change – the thing that is needed most. As for Labour’s proposed MOTs are they not just a lesson observation and a PDR? Of course they are, more paperwork that nobody will read and is completely useless but looks like it’s achieving something – the unions will like that!

  5. Its true he’s not a qualified teacher – can somebody remind me what his qualification is to be Education Secretary?

  6. I think he should teach for a year with the same types of classes we do. also have to make same levels of progress etc. Before, dinner clubs and after school twilight sessions. I would also like to see him on starting pay for that year. I would like him to go through all the training as well. see if he can cope.

  7. An interesting idea of the old addage to walk a mile in another man’s shoes. Can we ensure he has to write reports and cover end of key stage levelling too?

  8. I am a secondary school teacher, qualified with 18 years experience, and I am sure the majority of teacher would really like him to take up this challenge. Unfortunately, he won’t, because he knows he is incapable of communicating anything good, let alone teach. Strangely, it is often the incompetent bosses who try very hard to subjugate those who are better than them.

  9. Surely it should be a requirement that anyone appointed as Secretary of State for Education has senior management experience in an education context and a relevant higher degree? If a single head teacher in a small rural primary school needs to have achieved NPQH and probably already has a masters degree, how can it possibly make sense for an unqualified, inexperienced lay person to be put in charge of national strategy? It’s time to have a professional person driving our profession forward. Gove is like a well intentioned but misinformed volunteer, way out of his depth!

  10. Couldn’t agree more. When will the education system allow professional educators to have a say in national strategies.

  11. I agree, Whoever is in charge should be an ex teaacher of some capacity! Crazy that this country does not have that requirement. Would you put a Head teacher into a school with no experience as a teacher? Or a Head Nurse in with no nursing experience? ETC>>>>>
    It does not happen in any other industry that I know of.

  12. How shocking that the Education Secretary of the U.K. hasn’t had any experience as a teacher! Yes, I think it’s a good idea. He needs to teach a full term, though, to experience the whole cycle of planning, midterms, and final exams and experience the work crunch around the exam times when there’s lots of marking. And he definitely needs to be involved in leading extracurricular activities on the evenings and weekends as well. The next Education Secretary selected should be someone who has had at least 3 years’ teaching experience!

  13. I don’t think it would be realistic for Mr Gove to teach even for a day in school. He might do very well with all the security men around him to keep order… I think maybe he needs to look at the ‘Tough New Teachers’ programme. I hope a lot of the public get to see it as it has, up to now, shown the highs and lows of teaching and the difficulty even very bright teachers have with teaching a group of pupils.

  14. He should have a go at teaching for a term of half a term to try out his theories. I think he might learn something about the environment that is not understood by observors who are caught up in the debates about education and teaching and standards etc. In his case he ought to take up the challenge as he is one of the ministers who in theory support evidence based politics. It might give him a perspective on the service which he doesn’t have- assuming he is willing to suspend his attachment to ideologies based on critics rather than practitioners. However I fear not as politicians need these paper based ideas to promote themselves as radicals and they are not in the business of finding out what is really going on. Politics has become a game of manipulating statistics to suit one side or the other. If only there were no statistics other than GCSE or A level results we would be in a much better place. Levels,league tables,tagets, all play into the hands of the amateur education experts who play with them at their leisure. If Michael could genuinely understand that and is big enough to understand that after going into a school for a long period of time – great- but I doubt it.
    However it is worth a try!

  15. Wonderful thing this “Democracy”.
    What kind of society allows a man like Gove anywhere near the interests of our children? How does editing a news paper for a few years in any way qualify him to run the country’s education system? I have no confidence in the man, nor the government he serves. After all – they don’t really care if they foul up state education since it is only the children of the Oiks that use it. As for him being allowed anywhere my own children I would bear arms before letting him stepping into the classroom.

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