Teaching Makes People
One day when I was 17, my history teacher wheeled in a TV and a VCR* and put on a tape of Blackadder II.
While my classmates and I were thrilled to spend a lesson watching comedy instead of doing actual work, we were also bemused. Why play us a TV show rather than discuss the intricacies of Tudor Britain as per usual?
As we watched, she frequently paused the tape to highlight a detail or a plot-point, linking the action to what we studied in our books. Through the exaggerated dynamics of Miranda Richardson’s raucous Elizabethan court, the politics we had struggled with on the page came to life. They made sense.
And at one point, our teacher sighed contentedly: ‘This is so well researched. They just get it so right.’
It was superb teaching. Find a novel way to discuss the subject. Show students the relevance. Share your love for it. My teacher certainly had an impact: year after year her pupils had exceptional exam results, and several of us studied history at university.
These are the messages we’ve been spreading on campuses, train stations, websites, Facebook and YouTube during February and March in our ‘Teaching Makes People’ teacher recruitment campaign.
We’re trying to attract undergraduates and people already working in industry to consider a career in teaching. We want teachers of all subjects, but in particular the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
Our research and interviews with undergraduates found they value teachers but think teaching is an intellectual step-down and a second choice for when the dream job doesn’t work out. Our target audience are serious and passionate and want a career that stretches them and has an impact.
So our proposition to them is simple: teaching will challenge you, let you share your passion, and allow you to help shape futures. All with some of the consistently highest rates of job satisfaction. We’re tackling the myths of boring, unfulfilling and repetitive days trying to control unruly teenagers, by showing how teaching in today’s Scottish secondary schools requires creativity, drive and independent thought.
So our question to our audience is not whether teaching is good enough for them; it’s whether they’re good enough to be teachers. Or, as put on one of our stunning posters: ‘You can build rockets. But can you start fires?’
To find out more, visit Teach in Scotland
*yes, I am that old