Book sample 1

tusFrom Teachers Under Siege (2006)

Available from Amazon


It is late morning in 2020. You have dropped the children off at their local neighbourhood learning centre, put some clothes into the water-free washing machine, and finally settled at your desk armed with a herbal stimulant drink and a couple of Jaffa cakes. It is time for work… You log on and check your electronic mail. Soon it is time for your teleconference with a new pupil, who lives in Alaska. He has been experiencing some difficulties with sentence construction, so you send him a piece of software down the network that will diagnose his problems, and report back to you later on. You schedule in another teleconference for late afternoon. After backing up some data at the online Virtual Teachers’ Centre, and checking the contents of your electronic in-tray, you notice that the power is getting low, so you wind the computer up again for a few more hours’ work. Your next task is to improve your invoicing arrangements. The inspection team, EuroInspect, has been cracking down on sloppy record keeping, and in some cases withholding Independent Teacher licences. You spend the rest of the morning designing a new system to cope with the documents electronically. The monthly Independent Teachers’ lunch takes place at the local Meditation Centre. After a delicious organic lunch and a gossip with colleagues, some of you go on to a Mindfulness of Breathing session in the Shrine Room, whereas a couple of you stay behind to thrash out the details of the 85-90 year age group ElderLearn session. Even though it is still three months away, there are already problems with co-ordinating the waiting list. Things haven’t been helped by the announcement by the European Minister for the Learning Society that priority should be given to victims of the recent Teachers’ Pension Agency collapse…

Does this sound a bit far-fetched? Everything within it is based on widely reported social trends and statistics. It is a fictional scenario used as part of a recent research project, which asked teachers to think ahead twenty years, and discuss their views of the future of education. This was seen as a useful way of discovering how they positioned themselves in relation to changes in their profession, and the society around them.. The starting point for this book, which is based on the research described above, is the question of teachers’ professional identity in the modern age. This is an important question, as the contemporary educational landscape is riddled with confusions and disagreements regarding teacher identity, and even the nature of teaching itself. The contemporary problem of defining teacher professionalism has further implications for the future of education as a whole.