Saturday, March 30, 2013

Qualifications and screens on bins.

Blog (Rants) 30/3/13

Wow! How dead is London on a Bank Holiday? Amazing. I didn't take Good Friday off, so I was writing all morning and teaching in the afternoon. Getting to my lesson was lovely. There were no people, barely any traffic. If only every Friday could be like that. So calm and pleasant.

I used my Barclaycard for a contactless payment on the bus yesterday. Dig me for stepping into the 21st Century. Finally. (I guess it had to happen sometime.) I only had £1.20 left on my oyster card and couldn't be arsed finding somewhere to top up and annoyingly you need £1.40 for a single bus journey. Buggers. So of course I didn't have much choice. I had to step into the portal that briefly transported me to the 21st Century. I had a slight panic and asked the driver, "Did it work?" And then I slunk back into my little 20th Century hovel, where I feel safe.

Oh, there are random bins with screens on along Holborn. How bizarre. They are sponsored by the CBS Outdoor, I think and actually they are quite useful. They show a clock, the tube status update and then a few adverts and back to the clock again. I do kind of wonder how long they'll last without being vandalised and if they will put them anywhere else, but little old fashioned me, thought it was a nice idea, the clock and tube update especially.

Had a disastrous start to my journey back North for Easter. This morning as I took the tube to Euston the driver says, just as we pull up to Euston, "Euston station has been evacuated. I will not be stopping at Euston." If he'd have said at the stop before, I could have jumped out and got a bus. But instead I have to jump off at Warren Street, not even sure if the station will be open or my train there and peg it down to Euston. With around 15 minutes till my train. Eek.

When I get there, along with quite a few other hurried passengers, the trains are all boarding and the station hadn't been evacuated. So it must have just been the tube station, or they sorted out the problem pretty sharpish.  Slightly stressful as well as early start to Easter Saturday, but hey I'm almost home and it's only 8.50am.

And now to the main rant. Qualifications. A word that often makes me want to throttle someone. So I go for my final teaching class of the week and one of the parents starts asking if she can pay me with childcare vouchers as I'm a qualified teacher. I said, "No I'm not." I have never claimed to be that. So then she said I didn't need to be fully qualified but my Montessori classification would count. "I'm not Montessori trained." Again, something I never claimed to be. So then, obviously not seeing where this was going, she said that whatever childcare qualifications I had would suffice. "Er, yeah, I don't have any formal qualifications in childcare." No just 7 years classroom experience. 2 and half years as a room leader. 4 years as a SENCo and the fact that I was damn good at my job.

"Fraud." She joked. But this is not much of a joke for me. I never announced I was something I wasn't. I never lied and said I had Montessori training. In fact most parents new I didn't but it ain't rocket science and I learned a lot from past teachers and colleagues. Still, the fact that this was being brought up now, when I no longer work in that field ticked me off no end.

Half the time qualifications aren't worth the paper they are written on. And if they don't have practical experience at applying those learned skills to something real then they are no better than anyone else.

Take my music degree. I got a 1st, granted only scraped through due to lowered grade boundaries that year, but it doesn't say that on my certificate. It also says Popular Music and Recording as the title of my degree, which it was, but I know very little of recording as I chose the performance pathway. Again, it doesn't say that so someone could look at that and think, wow she's good with Popular Music and Recording....Misleading. It also doesn't say that I owe my high mark to my written work (dissertation and business plan) which was great, whereas my performance mark was mediocre.

What I'm trying to say is that people could look at my certificate and say wow she must be an awesome musician but it says nothing of my insecurities on stage, or the fact that there are loads of things I am crap at.
Anyhoo, back to childcare: I get riled up when people harp on about being an unqualified member of childcare staff, or should I say a member of staff with an abundance of practical experience. People seem to think that holding an NVQ or whatever makes you instantly better than someone that doesn't and that can well be true. But if they can't back up that knowledge with practical skills; enthusiasm; actually liking children (believe me this has been a problem in the past) being able to relate to children and flexibility.....then what's the point.

I had parents begging management to change to my key worker group. At one point I had 15 key children and most of these parents didn't know of my qualifications. If they asked I would tell them but otherwise they knew I had a Masters degree in Music and that I loved working with their kids and that was enough. But when past parents ask me and I say have no formal qualifications, they have this air of disappointment. Does it change anything I've done for your children? Does it make me any less good at my job? Does it change the level of education and care they have received? Does it change their experience?

No. Because kids don't give a stuff about a piece of paper. They want to be loved and cared for. They want to have fun in a stimulating environment. They want someone to play Pirates with and create play dough aliens with. They want someone who'll read epic stories and sing and giggle and shout and laugh. Kids need to see the reality of that qualification or a natural affection and passion that shines through everything you do.  They need to see that this person is actually good with children.

Anyhoo, whilst I was teaching my class, the three parents in the other room, discussed this in depth. (Lovely) And they came to the conclusion that maybe it doesn't matter if you have a qualification if you are naturally good at what you do and you have that passion and drive. And so they came to the conclusion that it didn't matter.

Well, thanks for that!


Anyway, I had a new picture book idea that I've written and need to hone before I can think about getting someone to illustrate, but that's quite weird and fun. And I'm up to Chapter 25 of the re-edit of my first novel, which was originally Chapter 34. Whoop! I've shaved off a good 9 chapters. Get in! Perhaps 12-15 Chapters to go? If I could make it no more than 40 Chapters I would be happy with that.

Next stop Wigan, so I'd better skoot. Happy Easter weekend everyone. It's sunny! Whoop!


P.S My tenses are all over the place in this blog. Oooops.

P.P.S I am not detracting from people that have relevant qualifications I'm just saying you need something more than a piece of paper. You need something inside you. You need to be able to bring those learned skills into a real situation.

Okay. End of rant.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chicken, even if you were a "qualified" teacher.. you yourself need to be Ofsted registered and have your own Ofsted registration number - which as you're a travelling class visiting existing establishments I dont think you can do anyhow... You're like an added extra. Like you can use vouchers to get a hot chocolate, but you need to pay for those darn good marshmallows :)

    You will never top my train rant of turning up at Manchester Pic to find there were NO trains WHATSOEVER going SOUTH... epic.