I was looking forward to Wednesday, it was the Secondary PGCE talk, and the lecture was only due to last an hour. I was excited until the guy’s opening sentence was, ‘I don’t even know if teacher training will be around in 2012, when you will want to do it.’
My initial reactions compromised of: Fuck. Really? Why? What’s the point of having this talk then? Can I go and have a cuppa? But no, there was more. ‘What I’m about to say to you, could be a load of crap in a few months, as it will not exist.’
I gotta say I was shocked, I looked around the room and the faces of many budding teachers dropped. It turns out that the current Government intend to cut teacher training places, and in some cases, cut the courses altogether, because cuts are cuts. Education doesn’t matter, it’s all about vocational work. Well that’s great, but Mr. Cameron, I am an ACADEMIC, and if I had wanted to be a mechanic, I’m pretty sure my Dad would have let me tamper with his C&G van.
I understand the need for cuts, however after further reading when I got home after the lecture, The Telegraph had an article that said that the Government was going to cut places and the number ‘will fall by more than 2,000’. On top of that, if you are lucky enough to get a holy place, your bursary that you would’ve lived on will no longer exist, as the Government deemed it too ‘generous’. This bursary would’ve helped many people live as when you’re doing a PGCE, you don’t really have time to pick up a newspaper, let alone get a full or part-time job, so how are we expected to live? Sell The Big Issue?
As I got further down the article, the humanties subjects, such as English and Art, and ‘academic’ subjects including History and Geography will no longer be required, and could have their PGCE subject abolished. Instead, Maths, Engineering and subjects ‘vital to the economy’ will be kept, and their bursuaries will still be available.
Why? I was further insulted by the fact that they are trying to push vocational, tough subjects onto people. So what if I want to teach English? I’d do it because I love to read, to inspire, to stand in front of a classroom and say ‘William Shakespeare was one cool man.’ But how can this even happen when my subject funding is being reduced and deemed not necessary? Aren’t all subjects necessary? English is a KEY PART of the National Curriculum, and last time I checked, the majority of the country spoke English. So someone tell me how its not a necessary subject.
Vocation, smocation. Teacher training, if it survives, will be converted to the dark ages where pupil teachers sit in the classroom and watch another teacher teach and basically copy them. University courses will be abolished, lectures on how to deal with behaviour, how to engage teenagers, how to create a damn good lesson, will be gone. Gone will the 12 weeks in Uni, and 24 weeks in a classroom. Instead Victorian methods of copying everything the teacher says off the board, sitting in front of a textbook will come back into action. How is that going to get the younger generation motivated by education? How will they be inspired? They need to relate to their subjects, not revert to the olden days and be talked and taught at. God if that’s going to happen, lets bring back the cane, writing on slates, and all! The whole hog!
On a good note, I’ve got about 5 months until I have to decide whether I want to teach or not, yet how can I decide when the teacher training’s future lies in the balance? If I want to teach and can’t, I face a career that doesn’t inspire or push me, and I’ll be bloody well miserable. Even more miserable than I am right now, having to write this. It makes me very sad.