In my previous blog I highlighted the question “Is your child’s tutor qualified to teach?” The feedback I received came in two broad categories; those that had made the assumption that every tutor was a qualified teacher, and those that posed the question “why is it important ?”

I’m very proud to be a teacher, I’m proud of the professional qualifications that I passed to get to the position. It was never easy, on top of the theoretical knowledge I gained you also had to pass “teaching practice” where your lessons were observed by two different teaching professionals, the class teacher themselves and a professor of Education training me. (Oh and about 30 pupils who weren’t going to give the benefit of the doubt, each and every lesson) Once I had my Postgraduate Degree in Education I had a further year teaching full time in school, 35 lessons a week with the same degree of scrutiny, before the Department for Education awarded me Qualified Teacher Status. In all, 5 years of work and over 1,200 lessons given (and over 30,000 pupils taught in those lessons) before I was considered to be good enough to educate our children. Following this I taught in Kent schools for 13 + years, before teaching another 7+ years in our centre.

I saw this quote while thinking about this blog, from a French born American educator, “Teaching is not a lost art but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” and this sums up my current feeling. I was troubled that some of my friends weren’t concerned that tutors, with no qualifications in teaching, were making a living from teaching children.

Why does being a qualified teacher matter? Initially it’s because the Government insists that adults who teach your children in schools are qualified teachers. Shouldn’t that be the only benchmark? Above this, is the level of expertise and knowledge that a teacher has about their subject: educating children.

Last time we advertised for teachers we received a call from a maths PhD who said that as he had expert knowledge of maths he would be suitable. The fact that he had no formal training and qualifications in the job of educating children was lost on him. Being a good teacher is not about subject knowledge alone, knowing how to solve a quadratic equation can come from reading a book, knowing how to do a forward somersault can come from reading a book. A teacher has this knowledge to the level needed but our specialist training and experience is how to educate children.

An unqualified tutor can follow curriculum materials, and get pupils to follow the materials. If all goes well the pupil will attain a certain standard, when problems occur can a deliverer of curriculum understand where in the learning process the problem is?

Learning is a process, one that a child needs to be aware of. The fun bit about teaching that gets you hooked, is that every child is unique, they do all have different personalities, different histories, different motivations and different learning styles that combine to make every lesson a challenge. The great thing about being a qualified, experienced teacher is that I have taught well over 13,000 lessons reaching over 350,000 pupils in those lessons, that’s a large sample size of evidence to fall back on.

A teacher can diagnose and understand where the problem is, and having diagnosed it, knows how to remedy it.

A teacher knows when encouragement is needed in the process, and when harsh words are more appropriate.

A teacher knows when their pupils need guidance and when they need independence.

A teacher knows when to push on, when to consolidate, when to revisit.

(Part 2 coming soon….)

A teacher knows when they’ve hit the end of a concentration span!

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