It’s important that we celebrate our professional accomplishments no matter how small, especially in a time where we’re constantly facing newer and scarier challenges. 2022 has been yet another trying year, a year where recovery should have been our primary focus for education, we’ve been blindsided by the ever-rising cost of living, which has been made all the more concerning by our inconsistent government. The education sector has been struggling with teacher shortages which in-turn has affected pupil recovery.
So we’ve once again asked our members to reflect on the past year, and in particular, to focus on the positives and share their highlights of what made 2022 a memorable year for them in the teaching profession.
It was wonderful to see that many responses showed that our members were able to find positivity in their professional achievements, such as achieving Chartered Status: one member wrote that “being published in Impact” and “completing the CTeach qualification” were their highlights, whilst another member shared how they were able to put research into practice by “Developing a new department assessment structure based on evidence-informed practices.”
And of course many members found a positive significance in their pupils’ successes, one member shared with us her touching 2022 memory: “Seeing the little girl who came into my nurture class as a very anxious new year 7 who had spent the past school year either working from home or in a bubble, sobbing her little heart out on day one of year 7, transform into the confident year 8 that she is now, and back into mainstream classes. When talking to her parents they said ‘We have our *name* back.’ She is one of 12 students who overcame their anxiety and SEMH.”
Another member, and proud teacher, expressed that their highlight was “Both my GCSE English Language and Literature students coming in the top 1% of progress made nationally according to ALPs.” And once again our members shared what made their year memorably was simply being teachers, and just “Having fun while learning with the students”, and seeing the impact they have on their pupils, as one member wrote “Being in my classroom all year and helping my students push the barriers with their learning post covid”.
Advice for colleagues
We also asked our members what piece of advice they would pass on to colleagues across the profession. Similarly to last year, the majority of our members focused on the importance of wellbeing, and not letting the daily pressures overwhelm us. One member responded, “Don’t forget to smile and take it in – sometimes we need to press pause and just put things in perspective.” Many members spoke quite generally, such as giving advice about maintaining a work-life balance that can be applied to the everyday, or simply “pace yourself”, something we all can forget to do when our workloads are heavy. And we can all find ourselves focusing on the negatives far too often. “Every day can be a challenge, but a fresh start.” wrote one member. Of course it’s also important to have the right policies in place at work, as one member pointed out, so that you can be reassured that your workplace cares about your wellbeing: “Ensure you have a comprehensive, workable Employee Wellbeing policy and that workstation risk assessments are in place and done regularly according to H&S legislation.”
Some members emphasised the importance of CPD and research in their comments and how this can be used to ensure effective practice: “Engage with the research and use it to inform all your decisions – it has revolutionised my practice.” One member provided useful advice on how to implement change: “If you are thinking about implementing a change, pick a class and do deliberate practice around the skill you want to refine before implementing to all classes. Reflection can help in addressing how the cog sci research works in a classroom.”
And of course, it’s imperative to keep reminding yourself why you got into teaching in the first place: “Keep perspective, build learning relationships, you’re doing your best and are shaping lives.”
Hopes for 2023
Finally, we also asked our members what they would like to see change for teaching in 2023. Many responses focused more on how they would like to be perceived, such as through recognition for their hard work and the challenges teachers have endured these past few years, as well as to be respected. One member described their hope for 2023 to be “Increased pay and recognition as a profession” as well as, of course, “Free endless coffee on tap.” Others also noted that “A fully funded pay rise for all staff.” would be particularly well-received. One member stressed that Teacher Assistants deserve more recognition for all their work in “nurturing and ‘delivering interventions’ (teaching)” their students. The Chartered College is also striving for this recognition for Teaching Assistants through our new Associate Membership, in which we aim to recognise the significant contribution and impact those who support teaching and learning in the classroom make in supporting the education of young people.
There were some responses however that were mostly focused on desires to change the structure of the education system to better suit its pupils. One member expressed they would like to see “An education system that is fit for purpose that really inspires students to see their potential in a multitude of avenues.” There was mention of GCSEs and A Levels, with a member stating, “the awarding of national qualifications needs a rethink.”
And lastly, CPD. We all know how important it is, but it’s finding the time. Many members conveyed this in their comments, one shared they would like to see “Professional development time inbuilt into timetable rather than one course or day off”, highlighting the “Continuous” (or continuing) in CPD.
Should recovery still be the main focus for 2023? Is there anything else you’d like to see change in the new year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!