Where I ask myself – what do I want from my Chartered College of Teachers?
1. I don’t want another union. I want professional signposting.
In other words I don’t want a movement that argues with Ofsted and DfE all the time. Or in fact, at all. This may seem a little controversial but one of the biggest issues in teaching is that we cannot agree on anything. Or maybe we agree on that. Either way I have a union that I can talk to about political stuff. From The College I would like facts – and then I would like to be trusted to use my own context and my own experience. I don’t want it to be an advice counsel, a legal service or a whole store of ‘good practice’. Just information if I need it. I don’t want to be preached at.
2. I want it to facilitate networks.
Speaking of context – finding those that work in a similar context to your own is hard. Unless you work in a city. The Chartered College can support that – and it can do it very effectively. Searchable databases of contacts and members (with their permission, of course!) – and regular events, at different times. The Chartered College should be the go to place to find a qualified teacher or an environment that will help you find the answer to the problem.
3. It has to speak with the profession, not for the profession.
See number 1 – we will never agree. So The College will need to offer evidence and let others make their own mind up. I don’t want a bank of ‘case studies’ or ‘good practice’. It needs to facilitate conversation and sharing of idea without looking to alienate. This will be tricky. We will need conferences, online forums, informal gatherings, book launches, readings, debates etc. Teachers welcome – and evidence based. We don’t need to be invited to the governments table to offer a stamp of approval to the next dodgy assessment change.
4. It should share information in many different ways.
Online isn’t enough – and I don’t want another pointless monthly magazine (it’s not a Co-op card!). If it prints something, say abstracts, or extracts, then let’s go for a quality annual. I don’t want a load of stuff from sponsors (like the unions). People could share resources online – and I’d urge them to look at how the Computer at School people work their online presence.
Now some questions…
Should we earn membership?
I mean, obviously we pay, but should there be some kind of peer review? Some kind of deserved membership? Should each member have to contribute something to their college? Attend something, write one thing for them? Part of me think there should be something, I just don’t know how far it should go! I believe it needs to be qualified teachers – but beyond that…..
Should we all be online and searchable ?
I would love to hold a local Chartered College get together – would love to find out who nearby has joined up and what they would like to do. But, is that up to me? Should I be able to just log in, find members and email them? Should we have a local branch?
I am proud to be a founding member of the Chartered College – and I want it to work for everyone. Lots hope, together, we can make this happen!