What have the Teaching Council ever done for us?

Have recently discovered Inside Education on 103.2 Dublin City FM. Simon introduced me to it via twitter. I have enjoyed the shows that I managed to listen to including the recent one where Simon was interviewed!
A couple of weeks ago, they interviewed Aine Lawlor, the Director of the Teaching Council. You can find this clip at http://insideeducation.podbean.com/2010/03/14/programme-36-the-teaching-council-14-3-10/

Now, if you ask any teacher to name one thing the Teaching Council have done for us, they would be stumped for words. I have tried to figure out what they have done. They claim to be responsible for the “professionalism” of teachers but they never speak out in the press. They take money from us every fortnight, we have to renew out membership every year or we won’t be recognised as  a teacher. I was downright annoyed by them. At least with the INTO, we get a good magazine, meetings, congress and now Twitter and Facebook. I put this question to a Principals’ Forum recently and noone could really come up with one thing they have done for us. One principal mentioned the fact that they ensure we work beside qualified people but why should we have to pay for that privilege? Surely, the DES should so that.

After listening to the Council, I changed my mind every so slightly.

Aine pointed out that teachers don’t really understand the “role” of the Council. Their role is not to speak up for teachers’ rights and working conditions but to speak up only if the professionalism of teachers are undermined…Hmmm..

Aine added that they have tried to engage with teachers, they have offered after school talks in education centres and schools but noone takes them up on it. I think they need to follow the INTO and set up a facebook and twitter page immediately. That will help them connect with more teachers. They could send a daily tweet on their actual role.

Even though the Teaching Council is developing  important things like the Code for Professional Conduct, the question is why haven’t we read it?

I read it for the first time tonight, great stuff but how do we bring this to our schools and why should we?

After listening to Aine, I can see that the Teaching Council is working hard to maintain professional development and quality of training for teachers but I don’t understand why teachers should have to pay for this? Aine also added that some of Ireland’s other professional bodies are made up of non-professionals and that the Teaching Council is made up of teachers so it will be led by teachers.

The Teaching Council is only 4 years old. They have covered an immense amount. They need to sit and think about how they are going to get the information they have developed out, how to communicate their role more effectively and positively and how to make themselves relevant and meaningful for teachers.

The radio interview is one way they can engage, the next might be to look at networking, media and communication with their customers-teachers. It annoyed me somewhat that they seem to think they have tried to reach out to teachers but the teachers don’t want to listen or get involved. It’s that old mantra of “You are the Teaching Council”

Well, teachers don’t feel as if they are so what are the Teaching Council going to do about it?

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