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What Educating Essex taught us about teacher training and education

12th May 2015 Print

You might have seen the fly on the wall show Educating Essex, which followed the lives of the students and teachers at Passmores Academy secondary school in Harlow, Essex. 

We laughed with the students featured but also cried with them, as they battled exams and the stresses of being a teenager in every episode. But let’s not forget the teachers who helped push them to be their very best throughout the seven episodes of the show. 

If you are a new teacher, about to apply for a role starting in September through Edustaff or working on a Teach First course, then remember the teachers of Passmores Academy and how they coped with the hands they were dealt. 

Headteacher Vic Goddard confirmed in an interview that the children don’t choose the teachers who work with them and you can’t choose the children who attend the school but you need to work with what you have and ensure you don’t fail the students. 

Educating Essex taught us that training can only get a teacher so far. They might know the curriculum like the back of their hand but when a child decides to throw a tantrum, leave the room or even be abusive they need to react quickly to protect the other students, themselves and also ensure that this child can come back from the incident and continue to learn later. 

The show also taught us that no matter how difficult a child can appear they still want to learn and that teachers are lucky to work with such bright minds that soak up knowledge like sponges. The media and even educational bodies paint a poor picture of teenagers, which could deter many aspiring teachers and result in them reconsidering training for a secondary school teaching position but for the most part students at secondary schools want to learn and understand the importance of achieving good grades. 

The show also showed us the parents behind these children. Many want the best for their kids and support and encourage them but there are those who will do everything to fight against what the school thinks is the best cause of action and can’t see that their child is being disruptive. 

This is one of the main reasons why Passmores Academy’s Deputy head teacher went on to lead the spin off show, Mr Drew’s School for Boys which followed his summer school that took on disruptive boys who needed to curb their poor behaviour before it became too late. The families portrayed in the show needed help when it came to parenting their children so that they didn’t behave poorly in a classroom and more than likely struck a chord with parents up and down the country. 

We can all take something from Educating Essex - to not be hard on teachers who work diligently every day to ensure students have everything they need to take responsibility for their own education and excel.