This argument is made by James Abela
The difficulty for teachers is that we have never had a College of Teaching and every other body has either been to scrutinise teachers, such as OFSTED, or primarily to represent our personal well-being. We have never had an organisation to look after our professional well-being!
I am a second career teacher and before entering teaching I was a Royal Chartered Marketer. The Chartered Institute of Marketing is the professional body that provides “Knowledge, support, network and growth.” I used to run the Cambridge branch meetings and we would have Teachmeet style events where we would get in presenters and network with each other. The institute would provide well written summaries of the research and provide a menu of professional development. It was a one-stop-shop to keep yourself up to date, to look into the future and to find useful training.
However, the real benefit of the organisation was that we had somebody who would speak up for our professional integrity! Some would argue that is a challenging job in the world of sales, but they were remarkably effective at putting our view across to the public and lobbying government. They used evidence to show the integrity of the profession and the hard work that their members were doing and to generally lift the status of our work.
I am a little surprised that the government is willing to give us the seed money for the organisation, but it is just before an election and they want to show they have done something positive for education. For them it is political expediency, but for us it is an opportunity we should grab with both hands, say thank you very much and use our imaginations to start something truly great.
My Chartered certificate is signed by her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, something I am very proud of, but it also shows the importance of the marketing profession. How much more important is it for teachers who train every other profession to have the recognition it deserves? This is why we so badly need a professional voice that is respected to represent our interests and in doing so further benefit the education of all.
James Abela @ESLweb is 21st Century Teacher of year 2014, but before becoming a teacher in 2004, James was responsible for e-marketing at ARM Plc and a member of the Cambridge branch of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is very enthusiastic that we gain the recognition we deserve for the amazing teaching that we do.