Teachers are not a coherent demographic, let alone a homogenous one. Political beliefs, approaches to the job, and personal circumstances vary remarkably. Much of my career has been an evolution of expectation, of what the job entails, and what teachers are different levels might do.
Subjects vary tremendously too. CP Snow spoke of the two cultures who never speak, of how STEM subjects denigrate the arts as being wooly and vague, while the arts dismiss STEM as reductive and functionalist. Both subjects are necessary, and both subjects determine more than just the content on an exam.
I know what I want in my classroom: meaning, purpose, excitement. I want inspiration, for students to feel the aesthetics of learning, with its challenge and ardour.
I know that in the past, in different and difficult circumstances, I would have wanted an easier life. Survival as a teacher in a state school, without a mortgage and all the capitals, was success enough. Survival as a teacher in an inner-city school was hard-fought and won with huge emotional investment. It was a different job to what I have now.
Right now, I am blessed to be with eager students who want to learn. Not each is interested in knowledge for its own sake, but all are able to turn extrinsic motivation into something more personal. They can take the subject further than most, and for that I am happy.
80% of teachers never wanted to be teachers. Those who are ‘into’ their subject may not be ‘into’ people. Just leaving university does mean a teacher is educated, regardless of how many 10s of 1000s someone pays. The profession somehow needs to consider this truism without resorting to neoliberal system designed to compel base-level aquiesence. Equally, teachers need to consider themselves as role-models of learning and improvement, regardless of their circumstances, as if that might affect the direction of education.