Reposted from the Guardian Teacher Network:
I think Princess Leia was right. The more that management tightens up in this way, the more our students will disengage. Already, the stress that teachers are put under seems to have been passed on to our students. More of them are suffering from anxiety and depression, hiding under the duvet and refusing to attend. Their eyes glaze over: all that hard talking about what was at stake in those management-led supposedly inspirational assemblies on that first day back in September didn’t give our students the self-belief or the determination they needed to succeed. It left them demoralised and defeated. One student the other day expressed a quiet cynicism that I had never heard before: “I can’t do it. I can’t. You only want me to pass because it affects your pay.”
I wonder if this will continue, if more will switch off. Perhaps things won’t get better, perhaps they will get worse. And if next year’s results aren’t back on track, some new draconian measure will be introduced. There’ll be a bigger Death Star, more powerful than the first.
When I started in this profession, part of me just wanted to be Yoda – brilliant, wise, thoughtful, able to make my students realise their potential. Today, almost 20 years later, I feel more like a stormtrooper: faceless, dispensable, following orders. It’s not a great feeling. I don’t want to be a stormtrooper. I want to be Obi-Wan Kenobi, finally training Jedis again. I want to be Luke Skywalker, finding a way to put everything right. I want to be Leia, standing up to the regime. I want to be the spark of inspiration again – that proton torpedo that sets up a chain of events that will ultimately change the universe.