So far, so good. However, in this age of social media, any prospective teacher who follows up #teachersmake on Twitter for example will find criticism that may just invalidate the campaign. To my mind, while there's probably been too much made of the throwaway final line that 'great teachers can make £65k per year' - it doesn't take too much research to realise that this is an exceptional and unlikely amount for a classroom teacher, and the focus will be much more on starting salaries - there's a huge amount of justified criticism that the ads gloss over many of the issues facing teachers today, from a high workload and lack of guaranteed pay increases to constant scrutiny by OFSTED and senior management.
So, what went wrong? In my opinion the problem is the same as that of many school recruitment ads, focusing too much on the organisational output (happy, well educated students) and not enough on the teachers' own job satisfaction. As I've said before, schools won't attract the best teachers by highlighting their own OFSTED grades or their high (for which many read excessive) expectations of outstanding, hardworking and passionate teachers.
Adverts need to focus on what schools (and the wider profession) can offer teachers - support through the challenging first year or two, the opportunity for ongoing professional development to be an expert in your subject, the chance to develop a career that may span 40 years and cover pastoral, academic and school leadership roles, the satisfaction of a highly respected role in society, and yes, of course, the massive difference you make to children's lives. Perhaps also the chance to spend time outside of the classroom on industrial placements, academic sabbaticals or civil service secondments, creating educational policy? Or a wide range of overseas exchanges and the chance to influence school development in the developing world?
But, you say, teaching in England doesn't offer these? Well there, perhaps, is the problem. If we don't listen and reimagine teaching careers in the way other countries do (the examples above are taken from Australia, South Korea, China, Finland, Singapore and Israel by the way), we will never find the people we need. A good reputation as an employer comes from considering 'what we do' as a profession as well as 'what we say'.
However, rather than end on a negative note, here are two suggestions to help in the short term while we hopefully work to 'fix' teaching. The first is to find genuine case studies of people who've had great, long, succesful careers in great schools (I'd personally start by talking to John Dexter and Tom Sherrington) and share them alongside the campaign. The second is to make prospective teachers watch American teacher Tayor Mali's answer to 'What Do Teachers Make?' - the reasons we all go to work every day.