In the first two decades of the Twenty First Century, a myth arose. Later, it came to be known as The Myth of the Super Teacher. The first seeds of the myth were sown when everyone started comparing everyone and everything against everyone and everything. Everyone had to be best. There were no excuses for not-bestness. Some people stood on the sidelines shouting, “Hang on a sec, everyone can’t be above average!” but no one really listened to them. The idea of The True Way of Teaching began to take hold, with people claiming that their piece of research meant they knew what The True Way was. Other people just kept turning up to do the job, and wondered whether the people who knew about The True Way were addressing them, or whether they were shouting into a void.
Unfortunately, The Myth of the Super Teacher took hold to such an extent that all those who saw themselves as Ordinary Teachers, Reasonably Good Teachers or I Just Keep Turning Up Teachers, started to wonder why they should bother. If someone else kept saying that they could do your job better than you could, eventually you were going to say, “go on then, do it”. A couple of decades later, the only people left were a handful of Super Teachers, who could deliver finely honed lessons to classes of 60 or more pupils and who used only the approved methods. Unfortunately, the exit of the I Just Keep Turning Up Teachers left a black hole of experience in the middle of the education system. Everyone was so busy honing their skills in order to move up to leadership and tell everyone else what to do, that no one was left to actually do the job any more. The edges of the system finally began to fall in on each other. The parents started demanding to know why That Lovely Mrs Jones wasn’t working at the school anymore. And at that point they finally realised. It is not about Super Teachers, and it never has been. It is about you, in a room, with some kids.
Thank you to all the I Just Keep Turning Up Teachers, for your hard work in keeping on turning up. I hope you all have a very lovely summer break!