Celebrating teachers on World Teachers’ Day
On World Teachers’ Day, Dr Pauline Stephen, Chief Executive and Registrar of GTC Scotland has written to politicians in Scotland to highlight the high standards of the teaching profession. Here is what Pauline said:
“This year’s theme for World Teachers’ Day is ‘the transformation of education begins with teachers’.
“UNESCO is calling on countries to ensure that teachers are trusted and recognised as knowledge producers, reflective practitioners, and policy partners. GTC Scotland echoes that call. Trust in the teaching profession is essential to an effective education system.
“That the world lacks enough qualified teachers is one of the challenges highlighted by UNESCO.
“We are fortunate in Scotland. It was in 1961 that teachers, concerned about the increasing number of uncertified teachers in Scotland’s schools, packed into a hall in Glasgow to debate setting up a Scottish Teachers’ Council. GTC Scotland, the independent registration and regulation body for teachers, was set up in 1965.
“Scotland’s teaching profession is now a mature one. We have a long track record of ensuring and maintaining the elements that you expect from a profession – agreed entry criteria, shared professional standards and a code of conduct, a commitment to ongoing learning and a system of self-regulation.
“Another challenge highlighted by UNESCO today is that the working conditions of many teachers are not adequate and undermine the attractiveness of the profession.
“In September, members of the Scottish teaching profession were subjected to racist abuse online after sharing resources on anti-racist education. The high standards of teachers are reflected in their professional values of social justice, trust and respect, and integrity. These values speak to the aspiration of the profession for a world where inclusion is a given.
“The Standard for Full Registration requires teachers to understand how to take account and adapt their teaching to the context of learners. In an ever-changing and challenging world, teachers can help children and young people be thinking and responsible citizens.
“A final challenge highlighted by UNESCO is that teacher leadership and innovation should be encouraged and better harnessed in the transformation of education.
“When media headlines focus on exams results and league tables it is all too easy to assume that teachers’ professional accountability is about meeting targets and improving data. But it is not. It is about upholding high standards in the service of learners. It refers to the hours of thinking teachers do to find a way for an individual to better engage with their learning, for the evenings spent wondering if they are doing enough to help a young person.
“Teaching is not only a technical role. It is complex relational and intellectual work. It requires hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute, effective ethical reasoning.
“On World Teachers’ Day, I wanted to highlight the high standards of the teaching profession in Scotland.”