Troops to Teachers was one of former education secretary Michael Gove’s flagship policies. A populist proposal based on similar schemes in the United States, the programme was meant to get out-of-work veterans into the classroom to instill discipline, a job Gove implied trained teachers alone weren’t getting right. Since the launch of the scheme in 2014, however, only 28 ex-servicemen have qualified – an embarrassing number when one considers Gove once touted Troops to Teachers as a means of getting to grips with the teacher shortage crisis.
Perhaps the news will lead the government to reflect on the difficulties that teachers face. The classroom is no warzone, but teaching as a profession requires far more than the ability to hold the attention of a classroom – in fact, it requires a lot of sacrifice, and this only seems likely to increase. Research by the National Union of Teachers, for example, has shown that the average weekly working hours for most teachers is over fifty, that’s over the maximum weekly working hours average. Is it any wonder teachers complain about being time-poor, or that people who could be great teachers are increasingly put off the profession?
Technology can’t solve every problem teachers face, but it does seem to be helping as far as time is concerned. A survey by Instructure has shown that 53% of teachers polled believe that educational technology saves them time, 77% feel that it makes them more effective as a teacher, and 64% believe it contributes to their students achieving better results.
At SAM we’ve always been conscious of this potential of technology to give time back to teachers while also increasing results for students – in some ways, the two go hand in hand. If technology can be used to limit the mundane but necessary tasks – marking, for example – that get in the way of teaching, teachers have far more time to plan what goes on in their classrooms, while students are given the opportunity to develop the discipline to learn independently.
If you’re a time-poor teacher looking to save time, find out how SAM can help.