Before having Rosie I was a primary teacher. Saying 'former teacher' seems to suggest I may have ripped up my Qualified Teacher Status certificate, lit a small fire and skipped around it singing about never having to be Ofsteded or spend Sunday nights planning.
No I haven't done that. I write lots on education for magazines and so definitely still feel 'in the loop', I know what's going on, I guess and I'm pretty interested, opinionated and passionate about good practise.
There's stuff I deeply miss about teaching. When I trained I specialised in Early Years and always taught 7 or unders. They're nice, young children. They're funny, they tell you too much and they like you too. In the last class I taught, on a pretty tough estate, I felt rough a lot of the time due to pregnancy. I never failed to be cheered though, on a Monday morning when I'd have little hands tapping my legs, and little voices eager to tell me their news; "Granny's picking me up", "we've got a new dog", "I went to Disney on Ice". I loved that.
Of course, I adored those little Eureka moments too that teachers are forever craving. When a child can suddenly decode enough that they feel like 'a reader'. When a penny drops and a numeracy objective is realised. When a child looks at you with "I get it" in their eyes. That pride that a child who normally struggles can feel, because of you and your teaching. Yeah, I miss that.
What I don't miss is targets, having to write detailed plans, assessing at every moment, and evidence of every element of your day needed to be filed in case of 'visitors' - no not nits, Ofsted! As an NQT I relished every moment in the classroom yet felt sick at every staff meeting when I'd hear of paperwork I'd not known about, targets that needed setting, and assessment that had to be done. Constant.
This was in the hay day of the Literacy and Numeracy strategy. When planning was still pages long - photocopied and examined every Monday. I think the tide has turned or is certainly turning. I for one am welcoming the changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum by Dame Clare Tickell who's bringing the ridiculous 69 early learning goals down to 17. That's quite something. Young children don't need 69 goals (including attempting punctuation by the end of Reception), they don't care about targets or assessment. They need to feel safety, security, care and happiness. It may seem that what we all knew the experts are having their own Eureka moment now too, finally they're 'getting it'.