Secret Teacher: I don’t have the equipment and resources to do my job

We lose 25 minutes before I’m finally logged on and can start teaching properly. For most of that time, I’ve had to ramble on about quantum physics without any visual aids. I decide to start the lesson from scratch; there’s no way anyone’s retained anything I said. As I begin, someone shouts “Can you turn off the front lights? I can’t see the board.” I sigh and plunge the room into the gloomy darkness that’s necessary to deal with the failing projector bulb.
    
I’ve worked at my current school for a number of years now and just as I feel that I’m turning a corner in my teaching practice, I’m hindered by what seem to be completely unnecessary issues. My lesson plans may be significantly better than they used to be, but I often don’t have the resources to pull them off. It’s sapping my remaining enthusiasm for the profession.
    
The lack of money is causing huge problems. I’ve ordered equipment for a practical lesson, only to be told the day before that we don’t have something in stock, and that we can’t get it because we don’t have the budget. Basic stationary is rationed, leaving teachers scouting classrooms for any rogue items that they might be able to commandeer. Subscriptions to useful resources have been cancelled, and colleagues have been told that an important upcoming project won’t be going ahead.
    
Inevitably, our students are affected. Some of them have submitted coursework through an online system which is now completely inaccessible. No amount of emails, phone calls or visits to IT will undo this. Complaints by myself and other teachers to the school have been met with excuses or silence.
    
Of course, neither poor IT support or the lack of funding should be used as an excuse for bad lessons. But while I can work around some reduction in resources, it’s gone far beyond that. Some of these problems put very real limits on student progress – I’m losing large chunks of lesson time, am unable to give my students the feedback they need on our systems and can’t access practical equipment to demonstrate complicated concepts.
    
We teachers understand that there are funding cuts. We know we can’t expect to have new equipment all the time. But we do expect school leadership to listen when we tell them what we need in the classroom, and to understand the implications of their policies. I can think of simple solutions to all of the hurdles I’ve been facing, but whenever I’ve suggested them in department meetings, I’ve been shot down with excuse after excuse.

 
13/11/2017