Lifelong Teacher Training

It worries me that the message, whether implicit or explicit, given to trainee teachers is that once they finish their training, everything will be ok. I appreciate that given time and experience, most teachers cope just fine, but why do we insist on perpetuating the idea that you won’t need help after your certificate arrives in the post?

Part of my new role involves supporting teachers when they are struggling, including during appraisal and capabilities procedures. In the last week alone I’ve been supporting a classroom teacher with over 15 years of experience, a deputy headteacher and a headteacher. Certainly in one of those cases, much could have been avoided if only the person had felt comfortable asking for help when the problem first began.

The prompt for this post is this exchange:


The whole thread is about asking for help planning an ITT session. There’s plenty of good advice being shared. I find it concerning, however, that asking for help is seen as something that only trainees need to do. I agree, the thread was specifically about trainees, but they need to have the message that they will need support at other times in their career reinforced. The issues may not be the same, but the outcome may well be. I think that’s a really crucial message to give trainees, otherwise we end up with more teachers in the same boat that the three I mentioned above are already in.

Why don’t we spend more time on this issue as whole staff CPD? Teaching, for all that it can be a collegiate profession, is also very isolating. Why aren’t we reinforcing the message that all teachers, at one time or another, need help? Surely if we reinforce that notion, we are supporting our colleagues and in turn supporting our students.



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