...yet another young teacher who has left the profession because of the cruelty of the assessment systems which operate in English schools today.
The story is a familiar one - a variation on a theme which we all know. We all know of an inspirational teacher who entered the profession full of passion, creativity and integrity. The teacher that starts off with the best interests of their 30 precious children firmly at heart and acts in their service. We all know how compromises have to be made, and how, week by week, these compromises come to dominate what we do and who we are as teachers. And, 2, 3, 6 years down the line we look back and don't recognise who we have become. For many of us it is at this point that we leave.
For others the compromise is not too great - the rewards of working with children, and the sense of duty, outweigh the negatives. I admire these people - I couldn't stick it, and still feel guilty about it - but I worry for them too.
This morning I read that 90% of teachers believe that SATs have a negative impact on their pupils.
And yet 100% of them are part of the machinery that imposes them.
We have become blase about state of teaching today. We sigh knowingly and shake our heads at the way that teachers' voices are simply not heard at a policy level. We tut resignedly as we bemoan the fact that those who do the job are the last people to have any say in how they do it. But this should shock us.
Just take a step back and let that 90% sink in: 90% of teachers think that SATs - the sole aim and object of our primary education system - are harmful to their pupils.
This means that 90% of teachers in primary schools are knowingly having a negative impact on our children. 9 out of every 10 teachers go into school and implement a system which, they say, worsens "children's wellbeing, mental health and self-confidence".
In an average-sized primary school, then, only 2 teachers are not knowingly harming the children in their care. The rest are making compromises, one of which is to be part of system they know is harmful. And thank goodness they are, as we desperately need teachers who realise the cruelty of much of what we are forced to do. At least that 90% know what is happening to their students and can ameliorate the harm they do by providing for richer, more nourishing experiences alongside daily revision sessions and booster groups.
At this point in these blogs I tend to offer a solution, or gesture towards a better way to view the teacher's role. And I do believe a better way is possible. But this morning I can't quite get my head around this 90%. It should shock us into action. It should be a call to arms for our profession - a call for those who teach to take back the leading role in developing curricula and policy. We, the 90%, should be rallying together to arrest control of the educational agenda from hedge-fund managers, unqualified ministers and business interests.
We should, but I fear we won't. There is strength in numbers, and 90% is a big, strong number. But we have become so used to our isolation, as teachers, that we accept our powerlessness. I can already feel my shock and anger diminishing, as the 90% takes its place among my own mental furniture - something to be despaired of, but resigned about.
The huge step it would take to raise our voices and stand together is, for many, too big. And so instead we leave in our droves, as I did, or we sigh, shake our heads, and set about making another year's worth of compromises, telling ourselves that perhaps it'll get better when the next ofsted is over, or the next education secretary or HMI-chief is appointed, or when I move to part-time, or when I get my own TA for the whole morning, or...