So what is the link? The "teaching MOT" could very well have a similar impact on my teaching practice. I would quote from Cicero at this point about the untested life, but I fear @oldandrew may hammer me for some kind of logical fallacy. Instead I will return to the point that the licensing of the profession, just like my running app, has the potential to provide a much clearer definition of what it means to be constantly on top of your game as a teacher (before anyone points out that the two things are very different, I am aware of this but please read my January post for more detailed thoughts on how the MOT might work.). As things stand, I will be honest when I say that I feel I am floating around in a sea of confusing expectations. The National Teacher Standards are so vague and broad as to be meaningless. My school has a system of appraisal of course, but it always depends who I get seen by on what day, and with what class. Plus some interesting research by the Sutton Trust suggests that lesson observations are not a terribly reliable way of exploring teachers' effectiveness. Then there is Ofsted...enough said. Results are of course always a measure, and a reasonably good one, but these are generally tied to particular year groups. When it comes down to my professional development, I am either required to complete school relevant CPD, or I am left to my own devices. Now, while we are all quite capable of finding ways to develop ourselves professionally, we need to recognise that two issues get in the way. Time, and the minefield which is teaching CPD courses. A quick scan through my pigeonhole each week reveals everything from subject content training through to discovery learning and courses on taxonomies or thinking hats. A teaching license which helps regulate this highly variable market and separates the wheat from the mountains of chaff would be a good starting point. It would also put a premium on teacher taking part in high quality professional development, which can only be a positive thing.
Whilst there is of course a risk that a professional license does become a tool to beat people with, I think it has a huge amount of potential. If it is implemented well it could be a means of securing high quality training for teachers, and may go some way to getting a professional body back to represent the teaching profession. If, as Hunt suggests, the license is to put teaching on par with professions like medicine and law, then I would suggest that the solution needs to be giving teachers time and money to access current and valid professional development opportunities. In fact Hunt could go one further and make some pledges to stop the destruction of initial teacher education, securing teachers' their right to career-long professional development. If Hunt is serious about change then this is the first port of call I think.
My biggest worry now though is that there seems to be a growing body of teachers who seemingly seek to reject all possible proposals for assessing teachers. Exams, Ofsted, teacher licensing, knowledge based training, degree level qualifications: it seems that some want to work in a system where we are simply left to teach because "we care". Now this all sounds lovely, and I am sure that nearly every teacher, left to their own devices would continue to teach their kids to the very best of their ability. However I think we need to demand more of ourselves. We need to push our professional understanding, our subject knowledge, our command of pedagogy. Teacher licensing is a way to achieve this, and one which is not automatically punitive like an Ofsted inspection. We have a whole host of failing accountability systems in education. Instead of shouting a new idea down, why don't we contribute and help to build something really worthwhile?
EDIT: This piece from Labour Teachers is also worth reading before decrying Hunt