Friday, 21 February 2014

Customer Service or Teaching; Business or School

I don't know why but the ideas of teaching as customer service has been playing around in my mind.

I think it has stemmed from a dialogue outside of schools:

"Teachers work with clients".

"Teachers have to reach targets".

"The parents are always right".

But teaching is so much more than that. It's more than a business and marketplace mentality.

Teachers don't work with clients; teachers support their students to learn. 

Teachers have to find the right way to meet the needs of each student in their classroom so that they have what they need to achieve. We know that's not easy. What works for one students won't work for the student sitting beside them. We have to manipulate curriculum to find the right way to help our students to learn. This is so much more complicated than advising someone of the right bank account to sign up to or helping them to design their dream home. It's about working with 20-30 clients at the same time.

Teacher's shouldn't HAVE to reach targets; teachers target their teaching to ensure students are learning. Not everything can have a number attached to it.

A teacher's job is more than numbers. Data is a necessary part of the work that teachers do. They can identify weaknesses and strengths of their students from their testing and assessment but this isn't the most important thing. It's the conversation with the student who hasn't been on task in your class, simply asking what's wrong. To find out their parents are separating, and really school is the last thing on their mind. So you change what you're doing in the room to better support that student - you have the discussion with them every lesson asking them how they're doing. You build a relationship - and the learning improves.

The parent's are always right; BUT Teacher are experts in learning.

Of course parents want the best for their child. They want the sun and the moon. But so do their teachers. For the 30 students in the classroom, not just the one. It's about making sure that parents understand what is happening in the classroom. That they are involved and engaged. That they can see the big picture and that what happens within a classroom impacts on more than their child. That there has to be collaboration and teamwork between the teacher and parents. That they have to get along. They can't demand the impossible, but can support what is happening at school from home. Homework, assessment, making sure their child is eating breakfast, is sleeping at night, that they can see the value in their education. And then teachers can start each day with students who are ready and willing to learn.

It's something to ponder. The dialogue that is becoming more commonplace about schools as quasi-businesses. This dialogue ignores what is actually happening in the classrooms everyday.

The posters have been created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios Newsprint -11 DSP and Old School - Typewriter Embellishment.


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