Other view: Leah K Stewart

LeahKStewartAt 9 years old I decided ‘I want to be a teacher!’ Then, looking at my teachers, I saw we have wonderful people stressed by shifting targets, imaginative people not free to create and caring people in a system that doesn’t seem to care.

Could a College of Teaching help change this? Well, that’s up to us. The College will be shaped by those courageous enough to step up now as Founding Supporters. Let’s look at what that means…

Putting my teaching aspirations to the side, I figured the least I could do is help our economy by becoming qualified for high-end corporate or research career options. This worked out (1st Class Science Degree, industry offers for MSc sponsorship, PhD opportunities…) but, like so many of us who reach the end of formal education asking ‘What was that for?’ I choose under-employment to get some much needed head-space.

During this time, via a job in a local recruitment company, I happened to gain priceless exposure to the world of employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship both nationally and internationally, for state and private sectors.

Working with apprentices to PhD holders across the whole career span I’ve learnt this: it’s laughable that, unlike so many other professions, teaching has no Chartered status.

Chartered status is something your fellow professionals aspire towards. I’ve seen the way they claim it with pride and maintain it because of the intellectual stimulation and spirit of camaraderie they gain.

It’s also helped people like me to question our own dedication to careers we fall into: Did I care enough about recruitment to become a Chartered HR professional? No. Did I care enough about the science I’d studied to pursue Chartered status? No.

This College of Teaching is for those of us who want to become Chartered Teachers and maintain that status, but first we must create the College – what an opportunity to imprint your hand on history!

And yet there’s truth in the saying; it’s hard to admire what you don’t understand. Until last month I didn’t really understand what this College of Teaching was, why it was different to the College of Teachers or any of the other teacher membership stuff out there and who exactly the Founding Trustees are to initiate this.

This post is my public applause for Professor Angela McFarlane’s presentation at the Politics in Education Summit, which educated me towards feeling compelled to support this cause.

Angela, a Founding Trustee of the College of Teaching, is careful with her words, aware of both the risks of this failing and the potential good if this move is owned by those in teaching.

Do you fully understand yet, what this could be? If not, please read and learn and ask your questions because this is happening now. Are you in yet?

Leah K Stewart

Founder of Beyond the Box Education & ‘Portfolio Career’