An open letter to Eddie Ledsham, a primary school teacher from Merseyside who quit his primary school teaching job after just one term.
I was sorry to hear about your experiences in teaching and your decision to quit your job so early on. I was sorry too, to hear about the huge workload you had to deal with and its impact on your wellbeing. The government know that teacher workload is a huge problem but do little about it. Instead of changing the demands placed on heads and teachers they say it’s up to schools to figure out how to do things better.
Three A4 sides of planning per lesson is ridiculous as well as unnecessary but sadly not uncommon. I wonder if the members of the public reading your story this morning have stopped to think about the implications of this. Planning to this degree means we simply have no time, energy or creativity left to give to the students when we’re in lessons.
It was disappointing to hear that you did not feel supported by your colleagues. As I don’t know them or the school, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. I imagine that they too are under enormous pressure and hadn’t realised how you were feeling or that you were struggling.
You should have had a mentor though and they should have given you the time to explain your difficulties and help you to overcome them.
Please believe me when I say that most teachers are good, caring people who want to help their colleagues just as much as they want to help their students.
I’m sorry too that a newspaper like the Daily Mail chose to feature your story. Instead of explaining that parts of our education system are broken, they suggested that thirteen-hour days are acceptable. They aren’t.
I’m not sure why the Daily Mail’s readers are writing you off when you were there trying to help our children. Don’t they realise what would happen if nobody was there to help our youngsters.
I do hope that an excellent primary headteacher in the Merseyside area reads your story and is able to give you another chance. You deserve to see what an amazing job teaching can be. Yes, it will still be challenging but hopefully in a good way. When this isn’t the case, that will be the fault of the government and Ofsted, not the headteacher.
It may be that teaching is the profession for you, it may be that you choose to go elsewhere. But what I want you to know is that teaching should be and can be an amazing career.
Chances are that you’ll not read this letter as the critical comments have forced you to take a break from social media. But I’m certain that you’ve got your family and friends around you and in time and with their help you’ll figure out what’s right for you.